Jack Sealy a non-league player jumps from $26 to $13,000 a week in China

September 19, 2016
Jack Sealy a non-league player jumps from $26 to $13,000 a week in China

Meet the former non-league player who jumped from £20 a week to £10k to play in Chinese Super League

Jack Sealy is the only Englishman playing in China alongside ex-Premier League stars

JACK SEALY used to earn £20 a week playing for Bristol Manor Farm in the
Western Football League.

Now the Southampton-born right-back can pocket up to £10,000 each week as the only Englishman in the Chinese Super League.

While the likes of Ramires, Gervinho, Demba Ba, Paulinho and Tim Cahill are
the high-profile former Premier League stars lining their pockets in China .
Sealy has just landed a FIVE-YEAR contract at Changchun Yatai.

His more illustrious counterparts have Chelsea, Arsenal,Tottenham,West Ham, Everton and Newcastle scattered across their CVs.

But 28-year-old Sealy’s resume includes Shortwood Town, Almondsbury UWE and
Pucklechurch Sports. He admitted: “It’s all a far cry from playing in
non-league in England.

“When I used to play for Bristol Manor Farm, they paid me £20 a week . . . but
here in China, if we win a match, I can pick up around £10,000!”

Not bad for a player who struggled to make a career in non-league football. He
added: “I’m a bit of a late bloomer.

“I used to play as an attacking right winger in non-league but they’re playing
me at right-back here, probably to keep me out of the way!

“I came up against Tim Cahill recently and he drifted out to my flank because
he worked out he could beat me every time in the air.

“Plus being an Aussie, he just loved the idea of getting one over a Pom and we
had some proper Ashes-style banter.”

Sealy actually comes from good football stock. His dad Tony, 56, was a
well-travelled striker who played for Leicester, Southampton, Crystal
Palace, Bournemouth, QPR, Fulham, Sporting Lisbon and Braga in the late 1970s
and 1980s.

He moved the family to Hong Kong in 1992. Sealy said: “I was just five when my
dad signed a six-week contract to play for Sun Hei and he’s been there ever

“I grew up in Hong Kong but returned to the UK to study at the University of
West England in Bristol and played for them too.

“I even had trials for the England university side but didn’t cut it.

“I managed to play in non-league but not at a very high standard.

“However when I returned to Hong Kong after uni, it all started to snowball —
and I got signed as a professional for Sun Hei and played for South China.
And because I had grown up in Hong Kong and lived there for so long, I was
able to obtain a Hong Kong passport and played for the national team.”

In the Chinese Super League each club is limited to five overseas players, one
of which must be Asian.

Yet until January Hong Kong nationals counted as home players so Sealy decided
to take advantage by signing for Changchun.

He said: “It was a now-or-never opportunity.

“The Chinese weren’t happy that Hong Kong had done well against them in recent
matches so changed our status to ‘foreign’ players.

“But there was a loophole in that if you were signed by January, you would
count as a Chinese player — so I took the plunge because I don’t think I
would have had a chance of getting a contract if I counted as a foreign
player with the calibre of stars they’re recruiting.

“It’s absolutely mad to think I am playing in a league with all these star
players and have a five-year contract.

“I’ve been buzzing and all my friends can’t believe I’m playing out here.

“Everyone was telling me the players I’d be up against and how silly they were
going to make me look! The whole world now is aware of the Chinese Super
League because the big-money signings they’re making has raised its profile
all over the world.”

It has been a learning curve for Sealy — although nothing has shocked him in
terms of the culture because of his Asian background.

He said: “You do get a lot of people who clear their throats and literally
spit on the floor all around you.

“To foreigners, that’s pretty disgusting — but it’s just part of the culture
even though it does shock people who come for the first time.