The National Football League debuted at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday, July 2nd.
The “NFL Academy: Stadium Showcase” event had 150 teenagers take part in a series of combine-style drills. The tryouts would determine which ones would earn a spot at the new NFL Academy at Barnet and Southgate College.
The NFL Academy will give students ages 16-18 the opportunity to gain education and life skills training intensively with full-time professional coaches. This will be the first NFL Academy to take place on international land.
Many NFL players participated in coordinating the event, including Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Other notable names include JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cameron Brate of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Efe Obada of the Carolina Panthers who grew up and played in the UK before his journey in the NFL.
Joseph said it was exciting to be a part of the NFL’s endeavors in Europe.
“I think the NFL is always open to new things and new ideas,” Joseph said. “I think this right here is the perfect opportunity for us to kind of expand as a league and a brand.”
Joseph also mentioned his excitement about playing in London later on this season. The Texans are one of the few teams who have never played across the pond.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host two games this season. The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders will square off on October 6th. The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play on October 13th.
Wembley Stadium, the NFL’s usual site for London games, will host two others. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams will meet each other October 27th. The Texans will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play one “home” game there every season. That matchup will take place November 3rd.