Shanghai (AFP) – Former Guam coach Gary White has joined the rush to Chinese football after signing on with second-tier Shanghai Shenxin.

White steered tiny Guam to the final round of Asian Cup qualifiers, recording victories against Turkmenistan and India, a country of 1.2 billion, along the way.

“The timing to go to China I think is perfect,” he told AFP by phone on Tuesday. 

“Chinese football is really starting to blossom and it’s an opportunity for coaches like myself to make a statement and to really get your teeth into a league which is becoming very competitive.”

Encouraged by President Xi Jinping, Chinese football is attracting large-scale investment from the country’s cash-rich businesses, creating a sudden influx of foreign talent.

White said he had high hopes of winning promotion with Shenxin, who stand to become the Chinese Super League’s third Shanghai team alongside Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua.

White, a former player for non-league English side Bognor Regis, once faxed every national association in the world looking for coaching work.

After spells with the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas, he arrived at the Pacific honeymoon island of Guam, which has a population of just 170,000.