October 15, 2010

Norwich football: Long way from home

More news about: Norwich
Norwich junior K Long Ding,
a native of Qing Dao, China.

By Derek Dunning,
Assistant Sports Information Director, Norwich University


NORTHFIELD, Vt. –
6,840 miles.

That's the distance between Norwich junior kicker Long Ding's hometown of Qing Dao, China and Northfield, Vt.

The 22-year-old hasn't lived the life of an average college junior since coming over to the United States in 2007.

The previous year he attended a National Football League sponsored clinic in Beijing looking to expand American football to the world stage.

Ding caught the attention of the coaches that ran the clinic and was offered
a scholarship to attend a U.S. prep school as a part of the USA Football
International Student Program.

"I was lucky to have the opportunity to go to the clinic and then have a few prep school coaches interested in having me come play for them," Ding said.

"Before I came here I didn't know much about football. I had a seen a few games on television but that was really it."

When he was younger, Ding played five years of soccer before switching over to rugby and playing that for the next five years.

"I became interested in football from playing rugby," he said. "Football is a lot like rugby, especially with kicking and I was pretty comfortable making the switch between the sports."

Ding had an offer to go to school in China as well, but after talking it over with his family he decided that coming to the United States was best.

Ding ended up at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire where he played on the football team and enjoyed success.

After that he played two seasons at Dean College, a two-year junior college in Franklin, Mass. before finally ending up in Northfield this fall.

Ding was being recruited by a couple Division I schools in Bryant University and UMass-Amherst, but since he hadn't received an offer yet he decided to go for a visit.

"Coach McIntyre called me up and asked if I had got any offers and I told him I was still waiting," Ding said. "He asked if I wanted to come and visit Norwich and see what the school was all about and I said sure."

It turned out to be a good decision.

"When I visited, I really liked the history of the school being the first private military college and Norwich had a good season last year coming off winning the conference championship," Ding said. "I just wanted to come and be a part of it."

Since coming over from China in 2007, Ding hadn't seen his family until this past summer when he had to return while his student visa was being straightened out.

"I was home for about two months because of complications with my visa," he said. "It was nice see my family, but I really wanted to come back to the U.S. to finish my education and play football here."

Everything was cleared up in time for Ding to suit up for the Cadets in August at the start of training camp.

Ding's football journey in the United States has been well documented. He's appeared in everything from small newspaper articles to the Boston Globe, as well as having a film crew follow him around for a documentary that aired on "NFL Blitz."

His story also appeared in the official Super Bowl XLII game program in February 2008, as well as the Sports Illustrated Teen edition.

"I didn't know how big that magazine was when they called me to interview for the first time," Ding said. "But, after the story came out I was shocked at how big it was."

Although Ding said the notoriety was nice, he'd much rather be just another member of the team and help the Cadets continue to work towards their goal of back-to-back Eastern Collegiate Football Conference titles.

Ding said he wasn't really sure what his plans will be once he graduates in the spring of 2012.

"I haven't really thought much about it yet. I've been enjoying my time here and playing on the team. I'd like to continue playing football for awhile too if I can."

The Cadets (5-1 overall, 2-1 ECFC) host Husson University on Saturday at Sabine Field as a part of Norwich University's "Family Weekend" festivities. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.

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Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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4th - 03:07
14 Greenville
35 Westminster (Mo.)
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
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3:00 PM
Thiel at Geneva
Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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6:00 PM
Sewanee at Berry
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Bethany
6:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Oberlin
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3rd - 02:21
14 Wesleyan
3 Tufts
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End of 2nd
21 Mount Union
7 Baldwin Wallace
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8:58, 2nd
6 Wilmington
16 Capital
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7:00 PM
Austin at Southwestern Assemblies
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7:00 PM
Langston at McMurry
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12:10 2Q
7 Millikin
21 North Central (Ill.)
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10:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Chapman
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
End of 2nd
21 Mount Union
7 Baldwin Wallace
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12:10 2Q
7 Millikin
21 North Central (Ill.)
Video Live Stats Audio