International Player Pathway Program
The International Player Pathway Program helps foreign-born football players reach the NFL.
Since its inception in 2017, the program has provided elite international athletes with an opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and potentially earn a spot on an NFL roster.
“The International Player Pathway Program provides athletes with a viable route to the NFL and an opportunity to further develop their skills,” said Damani Leech, Chief Operating Officer of NFL International.
Meet the 2023 IPP Program Participants
The NFL has specific roster rules for players that sign through the IPP. Each season, an NFL division is selected at random to participate in the IPP program. Designated teams are allowed an extra offseason roster spot for the IPP player that is assigned to that team.
At the end of training camp, IPP players can either be signed to their assigned club’s 53-man roster or waived. Players who clear waivers may be signed to their assigned team’s practice squad using an IPP exemption that allows for an extra practice squad spot. IPP players signed to a practice squad using the exemption may not be signed to any team’s active roster that season; however, players signed to a practice squad without the exemption are treated in the same way as other practice squad players for roster purposes.
As of 2023, more than half of NFL teams have signed international players to their offseason/practice squad rosters as a direct result of the IPP program, with several players making active rosters. Since the IPP was instituted in 2017, more than 50 players from 18 countries have trained in the U.S. through the IPP program.
Three players whose careers started in the IPP program — Efe Obada, Jordan Mailata, and Jakob Johnson— have recorded over 1,000 career NFL snaps.