Sign In


[The List]: Sports Leagues in Shanghai That You Can Join

Fix up, look sharp. Whether you're looking to meet new people or stay active through sport, here's a list of people who play ball in Shanghai.
2017-04-05 12:11:28

So it’s nearly springtime in Shanghai (any day now). Time to shuck off that heavy coat and get back into some sports. To help you meet the warm weather with that vibrant, healthy smile that active types always seem to be sporting, we’ve compiled a list of sports leagues and clubs, including how you can get involved.

There are quite a few, and they vary wildly from semi-professional leagues to casual weekend get-togethers to smack a ball around. We haven’t included prices here because they tend to change from season to season (and this is supposed to be what we in the business call an “evergreen” article), but we’ve included contact information for every club so you can ask for more info before you break out your badminton racket and hockey pads.


Archery Battle

What is it: In case you’ve never heard of it, Archery Battle is a team game combining something akin to a paintball arena with archery. The goal of the game is to either strike out the opponents team by hitting them with soft, padded arrows (that can still hurt if they catch you somewhere awkward) or knocking out the opposing team’s foam targets located somewhere on their side of the field. ASAS Archery Battle has a fairly small but pretty active Archery Battle community, which sometimes engage in ranked games. Usually meet-ups will involve several games, with a final winner being
How often they play: Depends on the availability of pitches and teams, but usually it’s every Sunday.
How to join: Teams are semi-organized (with appropriately silly names), but there’s almost always space for a new player to either join casually or regularly. They usually organize via a WeChat group.
How do I find out more: Write to them at

You can also get in touch with them via WeChat by searching for ASAS_wechat.


Shanghai Badminton Club

What is it: Meet-up group with nearly 700 members, organized around casual or intermediate players looking to get some badminton on. It seems like they attract between 15-30 people depending on the day.
How often they play: Wednesdays (3 courts) and Sundays (6 courts).
How to join: You can join their MeetUp but it seems like they have a “Premium Members” group where you can get more info.
How do I find out more: Check out their MeetUp page.


Shanghai International Basketball League (aka SIBL)

What is it: B-ball. Hoops. Just straight-up “ball.” From the organizers behind Archery Battle and the ASAS7 football league, the SIBL has roughly 30 teams with between 7 and 20 players each. They aim to have stat sheets and game videos up for each of the games, available on their website and through their WeChat groups.
How often they play: They usually have two or three seasons every year, and every season lasts between three or four months.
How to join: They’re cagey about releasing the contacts for individual captains, so your best bet is to fill in the individual member application form, get in touch with ASAS, the organizers, and they’ll put you in touch with the different teams. Or you can register your own team by filling in the team application and sending it in. There’s a pretty hefty team fee to cover the cost of court rental and so on.
How do I find out more: Write to them at, and check out their website.

You can also get in touch with them via WeChat by searching for ASAS_wechat.


Shanghai Cricket Club

What is it: Truly the classiest of sports, cricket’s like baseball except slightly faster and yet much, much longer. The story goes it was invented by British officers in India because they needed a game that could last roughly one-fifth of a century. Shanghai Cricket Club has a proud tradition dating back to (according to them) 1858, with some breaks in between. Pretty long breaks, actually, until about 2004. As the main organizing body for cricket in Shanghai, they’ve got 3 Divisions, and some of the teams compete nationwide. It seems like there’s something for everyone.
How often they play: Seems like there’s a game between the teams every Sunday, but the teams themselves may organize their own get-togethers. The club games seem to happen either at SCSC or at Wellington College.
How to join: You want to get in touch with the individual teams. We’ve listed the details of some of them below.
How do I find out more: They’ve got a pretty comprehensive website outlining most of what you need to know here, including all the teams involved in club games.

Bashers Cricket Club

What is it: Possibly the most Shanghai-iest of the cricket clubs, they do a fairly regular piss-up on Thursdays and don’t take themselves too seriously. Though they do regularly send players to the nation wide games.
How do I find out more: You can find them on WeChat by searching for bashers_cc, or check their website

There’re also;
Daredevils Cricket Club
DPR Hot Dogs Cricket Club
Pudong Cricket Club


Cages Dodgeball League

What is it: Truly the most serious athletic endeavour of any of all. Cages Dodgeball League runs the gamut from pick-up games to super-duper serious league games with tables and everything. League teams are 8 players per team, minimum two ladies on the field at all times.
How often they play: Monday nights are casual pick-up games, running from 8-10pm, with teams made up of just whoever shows up. It's They might turn that into a fully functional league if enough people start showing up, but for now, it's just for giggles. Thursday night is when the big balls get thrown around; 8-10pm, 10 teams, 8v8, each match is best of five so the first to three games wins.
How to join: There's a free agent system that allows uncommitted players to sign their name up and get put on a waiting list in case a team needs an extra player. Best bet is to show up for a Monday night game first and then get involved a bit more with the community before picking a team to play with regularly.
How do I find out more: You can get in touch with Jared Sussman for more info and help with getting yourself involved; his WeChat id is cagessports, or you can reach him at 186 1636 7093.


Shanghai Field Hockey Club

What is it:Like ice hockey, but on a field. Another club with a long history in Shanghai, but the current iteration started in 2003. Seems like it's got a fairly social element, as well as a youth team. Stick-flailing fun for the whole family.
How often they play: Mixed teams play every Saturday from 6 to 8pm, while the women's team play every Thursday from 8.30 to 10pm.
How to join: Hit them up on their contact form with your info and they'll add you to their email blast with info you need about the where and the when.
How do I find out more: They've got a rudimentary website here with the basics; where they play, when and how to join.


Indoor Cages

What is it: Also at Cages, they do 12-minute indoor football matches twice a week. You might chuckle at 12 minutes, but this is 4v4 in a tiny cage, there's no standing around catching your breath here. They don't do pick-up games, you have to be part of a team, and they're planning on splitting the games up into an A league and a B league starting next season (current season ends April 26). The game is run with help from Azzurri Football Club from the Shanghai International Football League, they do most of the organization and refereeing and the like.
How often they play: League games happen on Tuesday from 8-11pm and Wednesday nights from 8-10.30pm.
How to join: You can probably rock up to one of the games and talk to the team captains afterwards, but it's probably best to get in touch with Jared (below) and he can get you sorted out.
How do I find out more: You can get in touch with Jared Sussman for more info and help with getting yourself involved; his WeChat id is cagessports, or you can reach him at 186 1636 7093.

ASAS7 Football League

What is it: Footie, kickabout, sometimes called “soccer.” Similar to SIBL (and organized by the same people), the ASAS7 Football League has 28 teams this season, playing co-ed 7-a-side matches on outdoor pitches.
How often they play: They usually have two seasons every year, and every season lasts four months, depending on the number of teams per season. Games take place on Saturdays or Sunday afternoons.
How to join: Your best bet is to fill in the individual member application form, get in touch with ASAS, the organizers, and they’ll put you in touch with the different teams. Or you can register your own team by filling in the team application and sending it in. There’s a pretty hefty team fee to cover the cost of pitch rental and so on.
How do I find out more: Write to them at, and check out their website.

You can also get in touch with them via WeChat by searching for ASAS_wechat.


Shanghai Hockey Club

What is it: These people are serious about their ice hockey, with plenty of options for madhat shenanigans. Read their weekly roundups to get a real good feel for what's going in their subjective, insane mind-version of Shanghai. Sound like a bunch of lovable maniacs who could feed you into the business-end of a Zamboni at a moment's notice. So yeah, it's a hockey club. They've got around 200 players and they run everything from casual sessions on the ice to serious national-level games, like the annual Team World vs. Team China competition, which reportedly gets very intense. They've got players in the club who've represented countries like Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic in international games, and the club itself is pretty multinational. Canadians maybe a bit over-represented. They've got about 10 teams at the moment, with names like "Lowered Expectations" and "Hamburglars." Some are less kid-friendly. They're both laidback and very passionate about what they do. And what they do is slap pucks around. It's a beer league, and this year they're sponsored by Budweiser.
How often they play: Fridays and Saturday nights (they can start pretty late), the games are league-level and they can get pretty serious, though they avoid body-checking because people need to work on Monday. During seasons, they sometimes play as many as 6 games per week. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, they have "shinnys," which are like casual hockey games with rules to avoid things like concussions or getting smacked in the head with a puck, and are a good opportunity for people to get involved.
How to join: There're two divisions, and you have to do a skate assessment before you're placed in either one. They said they hold a team draft shindig in a ballroom, where everyone gets dressed up and they have a big electronic draft board. Every time the captains pick someone, they have to take a shot. For like 200 players. They might have to play that part down now that they're accepting under-18s to join (apparently not a lot of options available in China for hockey players after they turn 16), but the cool thing is that they put in orders for custom jerseys for team members. You can get in touch with them on their website below to start the process of getting onto the ice.
How do I find out more: You can check out their website here. Make sure your sound is turned down or you've got headphones plugged in.


Shanghai Lacrosse

What is it: Dating back to the heady days of 2012, Shanghai Lacrosse runs a spring season and a fall season every year. They've currently got two men's and two women's teams playing each other, but they also send teams to play at national and sometimes even international events. They've got sticks & jerseys available for loan if you're short on equipment. And, crucially, they've got food/drink specials available at their sponsors, Big Bamboo and Pistolera.
How often they play: League games are on Saturdays; current season's going from March 4th to June 10th, with men's games from 11a to 1pm. Women's is from 1 to 3pm.
How to join: Fill out their registration form at the bottom of this page. There's a fee for dropping in, and the first game's free for people who're new to the sport. Also, they prefer you to pay by WeChat, just FYI.
How do I find out more: Check out their website here, or send an email to


Shanghai Rugby Football Club

What is it: Probably the most serious rugby club in the city, and definitely the oldest, these guys regularly take part in regional games. There's a real community built up around it, with about 80 regular members, including things like dinners, bar crawls (naturally including special discounts) and regular dos. Getting selected for one of their teams can get pretty competitive. Beginners are welcome but be aware that they'll expect you to be of a certain level before they let you take part in proper games. Otherwise you might hurt yourself, y'know.
How often they play: Depends on what's going on around the country! They regularly take part in the Shanghai 7s, Sino 10s and Sino 15s, as well as bigger events like the Hong Kong 7s, Hong Kong 10s and the Kowloon 10s. so there're plenty of chances to play competitive games as a member. Training takes place on Tuesdays in a gym and Wednesdays on astroturf from 8-10pm, and Saturdays on grass from 12-2pm.
How to join: They're happy to let you organize a couple of free sessions to try it out and see if it's the club for you before pulling the trigger on their annual memberships. You can sign-up using the form at the bottom of the page here and join in at training. Membership includes a chance to be selected for one of the teams they send to competitions.
How do I find out more: You can check out their website here for a pretty intense history of the team, a contact form and more information about what membership costs and entails.

Dolphins Rugby Club

What is it: An up-and-coming group with about as many members as Shanghai Rugby Football Club, this one was formed with the goal of forming an "alternative for rugby lovers and new comers to the sport in Shanghai." They've sent teams to play in the Sino 15s, Sino 10s (for the Eastern region) and the Cebu 10s in 2016, and they're in deep with some of the post-game shenanigans you might expect from a rugby club. It's not very organized, they tend to manage their own things and they don't have official recognition, so if you're looking for something slightly rowdier as your outlet for rugby cravings, give it a gander mind. In their words, "We're here for a fun run-around, it's too late to become a pro rugby player."
How often they play: They train every Wednesday in Putuo and Sunday in Xuhui, and they organize informal games with regional teams as often as possible.
How to join: Get in touch with Olivier. Olivier's a good chap, he'll sort you out. Ballsy enough to publish his personal email online, anyway;
How do I find out more: You can also check out their Facebook page here, or find them on TeamApp by searching for 'The Shangahi Dolphins.' They've also got a WeChat group (naturally), which you'll get an invite to if Olivier likes the cut of your jib.


Shanghai Azures

What is it: Like hockey, except played on the bottom of a pool. Flippers, snorkels, fins, gloves, sticks, it honestly sounds pretty intense. The Shanghai Azures are the only underwater hockey team in the city (as far as we know). They apparently had the first underwater hockey tournament in China back in 2015, and the third cup's going to be held in May in Hangzhou. There's also a regional Asia championship that's held every two years. 2017's being held in September in Beijing.
How often they play: Again, depends on what championship opportunities are around, but they've got practice every weekend in the afternoons, depending on the season and pool availability. Sessions are usually 3 hours long, and they've got equipment available to borrow for newcomers, in case they, for whatever reason, don't have flippers, masks, snorkels and shortened hockey sticks lying around.
How to join: They've got newbies courses which they organize seasonally. You can get in touch with them to see about signing-up for one, or, if you're a seasoned UWH (as they call it in the community) player, you can let them know you're ready to throw down and flip the puck.
How do I find out more: Get in touch with them by sending an email to, or by adding them on WeChat by searching for ShanghaiAzuresUWH.


Shanghai International Volleyball Club

What is it: This is an intermediate to advanced volleyball club that runs semi-competitive meets for both co-ed and single gender teams. Their meetup page says they've got 249 players (though meetups rarely have every member active in the community).
How often they play: They play co-ed indoor volleyball games from 4pm to 7pm every Saturday, as well as advanced, men's games every Thursday from 7pm.
How to join: They seem pretty serious about your skill level. You need to know how to pass, set, spike and play multiple positions. They ask you to demonstrate your skill and/or have played on other teams in the past.
How do I find out more: You can check out their MeetUp page here.


Note: I’ve done the best I can to make sense of the mess of sports leagues in the city, but while there is lots of info available for some, there’s precious little on others. This article, however, will stay open for edits. If your club / league isn’t on here (tennis? American football?), you have my permission, nay, my blessing, to besiege my inbox with concise, useful summaries and a contact number so I can get you on this rundown.

Please don’t flood it with hatemail and dickpics.