NFL International Player Pathway spotlight: Souleymane Karamoko, DB, France

Representing France in this year’s class of the NFL International Player Pathway Program invites will be Canadian college football veteran Souleymane Karamoko.

Born in the Ivory Coast, but raised in France, Karamoko found his way to Canada via the game he loves. Now he hopes to make the leap to football’s highest level:

“This opportunity is what I’ve been waiting for since I was very young. The path since my start in Canada has not been the easiest, but I have always been surrounded by wonderful people, my coaches, my friends, my family, who have helped me get here. To have the opportunity to show my worth in front of NFL teams for 10 weeks, I couldn’t ask for more. I am truly blessed to be part of the program. The ultimate goal is to get into a team to start with, so I’ll do everything I can to make that happen.”

The 6’1″, 200-pound defensive back brings experience from Canada’s College football ranks playing three seasons for Laval University in Quebec. The native of Abidjan, Ivory Coast has been a key contributor for Laval’s Rouge et Or making 28 tackles and five pass breakups last season. In three seasons at Laval, the French citizen has made 73.5 tackles, including seven for loss, three quarterback sacks, 10 pass breakups, and one interception. The 25-year old was part of Laval’s 2018 Vanier Cup (Canadian University National Championship) team. Laval head coach Glen Constantin on his newest NFL prospect:

“By recruiting Souleymane, we knew he had the potential to hope for a professional career. He progressed well, as much as a student, as a person and as an athlete during his years with the Rouge et Or.”

Before chasing his football dream to Canada, Karamoko grew up in Paris. There he began his football journey by playing Flag football before eventually suiting up for the French National team during the 2017 world games. The promising defender took a chance moving from Paris to Quebec to play Cegep football for Filons du Cégep de Thetford Mines before joining Laval’s powerhouse college program. Karamoko had initially thought of himself as a CFL prospect and was elated to hear of his NFL opportunity:

“My goal has always been to play professionally, but I was thinking more of the CFL. I was hoping for an opportunity like a mini-camp in the NFL, but I couldn’t imagine what is happening today.”

Karamoko will join 12 other international prospects for a ten-week training camp in Arizona at the end of this month. At the conclusion of the training period, all prospects will attend a pro day in front of NFL scouts. At that time a select group of players will be allocated to NFL teams or signed via free agency or the draft.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football