NFL holds first event at new London home
Tue 02 July 2019, 16:30|Tottenham Hotspur
• Final try-outs for the new NFL Academy took place at our stadium – the first action to take place on the bespoke NFL playing surface
• The Academy, run in partnership with Barnet and Southgate College, is giving young Londoners the chance to combine full-time education with the opportunity of playing college football in the US
• Initiative is one of a number of benefits the stadium and our 10-year partnership with NFL will bring to our local community
• First NFL Games at the stadium scheduled for October 6 & 13 later this year
Our stadium hosted its first-ever NFL event today when 150 young Londoners took to the bespoke playing surface in a bid to win a place at the new NFL Academy.
The hopefuls, aged 16-18, took part in a series of drills under the watchful eye of NFL talent past and present, as well as our own legendary former Club captain, Ledley King.
For those in attendance, it meant a first glimpse at the multi-purpose field on which games will be played during our 10-year partnership with the NFL.
The first games are scheduled for later this year, when Chicago Bears take on Oakland Raiders on Sunday 6 October, followed by the Carolina Panthers facing Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week later on Sunday 13 October as part of the annual NFL London Series.
Ahead of this, the NFL Academy will officially open in September, offering 80 successful student athletes the opportunity to combine full-time education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.
Supported by Nike and based at Barnet and Southgate College, the NFL Academy will provide students with pathways into employment, further education and even the potential opportunity to play NCAA college football in the United States.
There will also be a character development programme for students to give them all the tools needed to be successful in whatever pathway they take following the NFL Academy.
Athletes will be given access to elite sports training facilities, kit and equipment, as well as an opportunity to learn from players and coaches from the NFL.
It is supported by some of the biggest names in the sport, with ambassadors including Odell Beckham Jr, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Patrick Mahomes, Jerry Rice and London-born NFL players Efe Obada and Jay Ajayi.
“The Academy is a first-of-its kind initiative that will deliver against three key elements: education, character development and football," said NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood. “The inspiration for the idea was our long-term partnership with Tottenham Hotspur. As well as playing games at the new stadium, we had a desire to create something meaningful for the community on a year-round basis.
“This is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of many young people, regardless of their experience of our sport. It is also an opportunity for us to create a pathway for players to get into the American college system and maybe even to the NFL itself.”
Initial try-outs for the Academy took place at venues across London, including in Tottenham, with the top 150 participants selected to take part in today’s event.
It is an example of the unique opportunities our stadium and the partnership with the NFL is bringing to the people of our local community.
As well as the Academy, NFL Games will be part of a wide and varied stadium content programme that will see concerts and other sports and cultural events attracted to the area, boosting the local economy and creating a hive of activity in Tottenham 365 days a year.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, was in attendance at today’s event and said: “The young people here today are everyday Londoners who are getting the opportunity to access a truly global sport - the fact that it is happening here in Tottenham is incredibly exciting. Most of my constituents would never have thought about possibly going to an American University - now the opportunity is in front of their eyes.
“Football has always given young people from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to achieve their dreams - Tottenham Hotspur have been doing that for decades in this community. I think the new stadium, combined with NFL, takes this on 100 steps further.
“You have a global brand in Tottenham Hotspur, now in partnership with an organisation like the NFL, and it’s all emanating from this small community in Tottenham that I am proud to represent - our community may be small but, thanks to this new stadium, our reach is now huge.
“The stadium is already reviving the shops and neighbourhoods, it’s bringing in major partners and with that comes investment, jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. All of this makes it an extremely important catalyst for regeneration.”
Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “We are thrilled to see the NFL further strengthen its ties to North London and make this long-term commitment to young student athletes in our home boroughs of Haringey and Enfield. When we announced our partnership back in 2015, we always envisaged our relationship extending beyond games in our new stadium. The NFL Academy is a great embodiment of our shared aims to deliver a ground-breaking partnership and opportunities for our communities. We look forward to supporting this fantastic initiative.”