The National Football League has announced the appointment of Lamonte Winston as Head of the NFL Academy in the UK, effective 14 April.

The appointment of Winston, who is recognized as an industry leading coach and player development expert with over 37 years’ experience of working in American football, underlines the NFL’s continued commitment to establish the NFL Academy as an elite talent development program and center of excellence for young student athletes in global sport.

“The NFL Academy is an outstanding educational, life skills and high-performance program for talented young student athletes globally, and I am excited to see us accelerate opportunities and successes in the future under Lamonte’s leadership,” said Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the NFL. “Lamonte’s appointment also underlines the League’s long-term commitment to developing an elite pathway for international high school aged athletes to play college football, and in time contribute to the growing number of international players in professional football.”

In this newly created role Winston will lead the overall management of the program, building on the NFL Academy achievements to date and creating the best elite environment for student athlete success both on and off the field.

Winston has held prominent roles with the Kansas City Chiefs as Executive Director of Player Development, and formerly the Oakland Raiders as Director of Player Engagement, and has been recognized for his impact in advising professional sports leagues and teams on athlete development programing and pathways beyond the sport.

“Anytime you have the honor to coach student athletes you are being trusted by them with the responsibility of assisting them in fulfilling their dreams,” said Winston. “The NFL Academy students will operate and stand on a fundamental foundation of building high character and pushing excellence in all areas of their young academic and athletic life cycles. The opportunity to lead the program, with the goal of achieving a consistent level of elite performance that is representative of the National Football League and its partners, is an exciting one and I cannot wait to join the team in the UK and get started.”

Brett Gosper, Head of Europe & UK for the NFL, added: “The NFL Academy in the UK is a critical player development program for the NFL globally, and one that transforms the lives of talented young student

athletes from around the world. I have no doubt that Lamonte’s significant experience and inspirational leadership will see this impact increase, and we look forward to welcoming him and seeing him take the program to exciting new levels.”

The NFL Academy, which opened in September 2019, is a major initiative by the NFL, which aims to use American football to create life-changing opportunities for young people all around the world.

It offers talented student athletes aged 16–19 a pathway to combine their full-time education alongside a transformative life skills program and intensive training in the sport, under the guidance of a professional coaching team.

Based at Loughborough’s world-renowned center of sporting excellence in the UK, and in partnership with Loughborough College and Loughborough University, the program promotes world class performance and the development of elite player pathways, supporting student athletes with NFL best practices and resources.

The NFL Academy currently supports 59 student athletes from 9 different countries (Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Sweden and United Kingdom). Since its inception more than 40 students have secured college football scholarships in the US. 15 NFL Academy alumni will play NCAA football in the 2023–24 season.

The NFL Academy play competitive fixtures across the academic year against US High Schools, including the IMG Academy, as well as the best youth football teams in Europe and counts Nike, Wilson, New Era and EA Sports as supporting partners.

Kris Durham will continue to consult on all matters across Football Development, Europe & Africa, including global talent identification & performance development to unlock opportunities for players to help secure US college football scholarships and creating development pathways within international coaching & enhancing scouting networks.

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