Tottenham Hotspur striker and England captain Harry Kane has signed on as an official ambassador for the NFL’s new UK academy venture.
Having launched in May, the NFL Academy begins operations in September at Barnet and Southgate College, offering student athletes aged 16-18 the opportunity to combine education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.
Recruitment for the first class of approximately 80 students has been taking place over the past month, with the final tryouts staged on Tuesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first event on the stadium’s dedicated NFL field.
Kane said: “I’m a huge fan of the NFL and have been following it for a while. I’m so excited about the club bringing the NFL to Tottenham and the benefits the partnership has for our local community. I can’t wait to see the NFL Academy in action.”
Some of the NFL’s highest-profile stars have pledged their support for the Academy and will also serve in ambassadorial roles, which will include regular visits to help mentor the student athletes.
These include Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who attended the final tryouts; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes; NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice; Philadelphia Eagles’ British-born running back Jay Ajayi; the Carolina Panthers’ London-raised defensive end Efe Obada; and London-born two-time Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora and his colleague on the BBC’s NFL coverage, Jason Bell.
NFL UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood said: “The involvement of high-profile UK figures alongside our NFL stars is an important element of the Academy. Harry’s achievements can serve as an inspiration to our students and his strong connection to the local area, along with his well-known love of the NFL, makes him a meaningful and credible participant in the Academy.”
The NFL will play its first two games at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 6th and 13th October, when the Oakland Raiders host the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Carolina Panthers.