National Football League announces International Player Pathway Program Class of 2024

16 Athletes From Eight Nations Selected to Participate in This Season’s IPP Program

For the First Time, Five Specialists Will Participate in the IPP Training Camp as Part of the Program’s Expansion

The National Football League has announced its International Player Pathway (IPP) program Class of 2024, featuring 11 athletes from around the world and a first-ever group of five specialists from England and Ireland.

Established in 2017, the IPP program aims to provide elite international athletes with the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills and ultimately work to earn a spot on an NFL roster.

The IPP Class of 2024, including the program’s first-ever specialists, spans talent from eight nations and represents a total of 16 players transitioning to the sport of American football.

Athletes come from various sporting backgrounds including rugby, basketball, track, Gaelic football and Australian football, among others — showcasing how diverse sporting experience and capabilities can continue to enable the impact of international player pathways in enriching the fabric of the league.

“We are thrilled to welcome the International Player Pathway program Class of 2024,” said Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president international, club business and major events at the NFL. “As we focus on the global growth of the game, expanding international talent within the NFL is critical — connecting our sport with fans across the world. The 2024 program participants are an elite, diverse group of athletes and we look forward to following their journeys in the months ahead.”

“The IPP Class of 2024 presents a group of incredibly talented athletes from diverse sporting backgrounds and nations across the globe,” said Osi Umenyiora, who is spearheading the NFL’s Africa program. “Our international football development programs at the NFL offer life-changing opportunities for talent, and will only continue to impact the league this season and in the seasons ahead. This is only the beginning for these players, and we look forward to sharing their stories and the game of football with the world.”

Since its inception, 37 international players have signed with NFL teams (allocated, drafted or signed as a free agent), with 18 IPP athletes currently on NFL rosters. Five players – Jordan Mailata, Jakob Johnson, Efe Obada, Sammis Reyes and David Bada – have seen active rosters with the Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Commanders, since the program began in 2017.

Players will begin training in the United States in January at IMG Academy and will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to NFL club scouts in March.

At the conclusion of training camp, the group of 16 IPP athletes will be eligible to fill a 17th practice squad roster spot across any of the 32 teams — an additional spot reserved for an international player — following the rule change beginning with the 2024 season applicable to athletes outside of the United States and Canada.

The International Player Pathway Program Class of 2024 includes:

Jotham Russell Australia
Patrick Murtagh Australia
Florian Bierbaumer Austria
Bayron Matos Dominican Republic
George Smith England
Travis Clayton England
Harry Mallinder England
Mark Jackson Ireland
Charlie Smyth Ireland
Darragh Leader Ireland
Rory Beggan Ireland
Sam Orji Nigeria
Isaac Ajanah Nigeria
Udo Uzuegbu Nigeria
Praise Olatoke Nigeria/Scotland
Louis Rees-Zammit Wales


The International Player Pathway program is part of a broader long-term commitment from the NFL and its 32 clubs to accelerate global football development efforts, and see more international talent play the game. The NFL has a strategic focus on engaging and enabling athletes of all ages to find, play and thrive in the sport.

For more information on the International Player Pathway program, visit:

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major