THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
The NFL International Combine is headed to London. The invitation-only scouting showcase, mirrored after the annual NFL Combine staged in the United States, is designed to discover and evaluate potential NFL talent from around the globe. Nearly 50 athletes have been selected to participate in a series of tests in front of NFL evaluators at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 12. They come from 14 countries – Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and of course the UK.
Successful athletes will be offered a position in the NFL’s International Player Pathway program. The IPP program, which began in 2017, gives foreign athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills and potentially earn a spot on an NFL roster. The participants who meet specific performance standards and display the potential to play in the NFL are invited to train in the United States for three months. This group is whittled down again following the training phase and a select number are allocated to NFL clubs for the 2022 season.
The London event is the third NFL International Combine, following Australia in 2018 and Germany in 2019. The NFL will also conduct a Combine in Mexico later in October for athletes unable to make it to London due to travel restrictions. Pandemic restrictions also mean that the London event will be closed to the public.
The International Combine is the first step in the process towards participation in the IPP program that has helped players such as Efe Obada (UK/Buffalo Bills), Jakob Johnson (Germany/New England Patriots), Jordan Mailata (Australia/Philadelphia Eagles) and Sammis Reyes (Chile/Washington Football Team) earn a place in the NFL.
“We are excited to host the International Combine in London next month,” said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International. “Through the event, we hope to discover new talent, create more global exposure of the game and provide an opportunity for participants to compete at the highest level.”