Eleven athletes from nine countries will compete for a spot in the 2021 International Player Pathway Program, the NFL announced today. Instituted in 2017, the program aims to provide elite international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.
"Since its creation in 2017, this program has been a part of the league's continuous efforts to strengthen the pipeline of international players in the NFL," said Damani Leech, NFL Chief Operating Officer of International. "We look forward to providing athletes from around the world with the opportunity to showcase their skills as we continue to grow the game globally."
Aaron Donkor (Germany), Taku Lee (Japan), Yoann Miangue (France), Leonel Misangumukini (Austria), Adedayo Odeleye (United Kingdom), Ayo Oyelola (United Kingdom), Max Pircher (Italy), Sammis Reyes (Chile), Bernhard Seikovits (Austria), Lone Toailoa (New Zealand) and Alfredo Gutierrez (Mexico) will soon begin training in the United States in hopes of being selected for a practice squad position for next season through the International Player Pathway Program.
One of the NFL's eight divisions, to be chosen at random, will receive the international players selected for the 2021 program. At the conclusion of preseason training camp, each player will be eligible for an international player practice squad exemption with his assigned team. This provides the assigned team an additional practice squad member for the season.