Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy led by NFL legend Rod Woodson headed to Holland, France

After training the best football athletes from the United States for the past several years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy is heading to the Netherlands and France this fall to test, train and showcase the best European American football players.

The Academy will visit and train top teams and athletes at Montgomery Sportpark in Leiden, The Netherlands from October 19-21 and at Complexe Sporttif du Val de L’Arc in Aix en Provence, France November 2-4.

Academy coaches will include Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, former Oakland Raiders Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, former Houston Texans assistant coach Chick Harris, Dallas Cowboys running back coach Robert Ford, and others.

It is the first time the Academy, considered the world-class standard in American football training, will travel to the Netherlands.

The Academy program is designed to identify, train and showcase the best American football players in the world and showcase them before former NFL and top college scouts. The identification of top athletes in Europe has been ongoing for the past year by Pro Football Hall of Fame International Director Mark Bright, who is based in Leiden and has a passion and dedication for promoting American football, to see it grow globally.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson

The idea of traveling to Leiden stemmed from an observation from Bright, who followed the Academy and understood its impact on the development of hundreds of top college and NFL athletes in the United States.

Mark Bright:

“This Academy is like Manchester United or Real Madrid coming to the Netherlands to train and evaluate our top youth footballers. This football Academy is the gold standard in developing young American football players.“

For the past few years, the Pro Football Hall of Fame leadership has also been watching the development and enthusiasm for American football in Europe, visible at NFL International Series games hosted in London.

The Academy will provide top participating athletes with two and half days of intense football training that will include world-class combine testing, classroom instruction and competition under the watchful eye of former NFL legends and scouts.

Also on hand will be Gary Howard, a top American collegiate scout, who provides the Academy with college football evaluations for all athletes and final selection for national all-star and global all-star competition. The very best athletes will be invited to the Elite Academy Session in Canton, Ohio next summer, to train and compete with the best U.S. high school and college athletes and also be featured in a global football event to be announced later this year.

A unique and exclusive element to the Academy is “The Game for Life” program that focuses on the values learned from the game of football. Led by Rod Woodson, this character development seminar is built around the values of football such as commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence learned from the game of football.

Pro Football Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker:

“We are thrilled the Academy will travel to the Netherlands and France to impact Europe’s top athletes. Our world-class training provides a platform for American football development while also imparting the values learned that will help shape their futures, on and off the football field.”

Rich McGuinness, General Manager of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy:

“Given the global reach of American football, the opportunity to test, train and scout top European athletes is exciting for our NFL coaches and college scouts. Our passion for football development spans oceans, borders and languages.”


“The response by our top athletes and coaches has been unbelievable. This is an opportunity of a life-time for our athletes to train and be seen by the NFL’s best and by major college scouts”.

Check out more information and the history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy here. 


Located in Canton, Ohio, the birthplace of the National Football League, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution with the Mission to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values, & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE. Hundreds of thousands of fans from across the globe travel to Canton annually to experience “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!” that chronicles America’s most popular sport. Construction on Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, a nearly $800 million development project that includes 10 main components, is under way in Canton to transform the Hall of Fame’s campus. For more information about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, please visit; @ProFootballHOF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.


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