Author: ITV REPORT
A child refugee trafficked to the UK and forced to spend time on the streets of London has been picked for the new NFL season.
Nigerian-born Efe Obada, 26, was trafficked with his sister to London from the Netherlands aged 10, and only started playing American football for British outfit London Warriors in 2014.
Having moved to the US to pursue the sport, Obada has now been selected by Carolina Panthers in their 53-man roster for the new campaign.
Obada said it meant “the world” for him to be able to compete at the game’s highest level, having been first introduced to the sport through Channel 4.
The defensive end admitted that he was expecting to be released by the Panthers at the draft, which sees teams whittled down from 90 players to 53.
Obada then needed to ask coach Ron Rivera whether the news was real, such was his disbelief.
Obada moved to the US in 2015 to further his NFL career having started the game the year before.
He enjoyed stints with Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, but never made the final 53.
Speaking of his selection, Obada told the Panthers website: “Walking in and getting released is what I’m used to.
“I was walking in and making eye contact with everyone.
“No one spoke to me, I didn’t say anything to anybody. I made it to my locker and they still hadn’t stopped me or said anything.
“Coach Rivera eventually came over to me and I was like, ‘Is it real?'”
Obada is the first player from the NFL’s International Pathway Program to make it onto a final roster.
He will be hoping to be selected when the Panthers open their season against Dallas Cowboys.