• Kyodo


Eight of Japan’s top American football players, including Kwansei Gakuin University captain Rikiya Ishida and Shinzo Yamada of Asahi Soft Drinks, will join the Arena Football League (AFL) spring training camp in Hawaii, football officials said Tuesday.

Yamada was the only Japanese to play in the now defunct XFL. He played linebacker last season for the Memphis Maniax.

Along with Ishida and Yamada, Takeshi Shinjo and Testuya Akiyama of Asahi Soft Drinks, Yoshitomo Kanaoka of Asahi Beer, Kohei Satomi and Nobutaka Horie of Recruit and Masato Itai of Kajima have been selected among 90 members who will join the Feb. 4-11 camp.

The AFL, an indoor football league established in 1987, consists of 16 teams in four divisions — Western, Central, Eastern and Southern. Matches are played on surfaces half the size of a regular football field with eight players per team, many of whom go on to play in the National Football League.

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