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CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 09: A general view of the stadium ahead of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers defensive end Efe Obada hopes to be a positive role model for young people in the tough London neighborhood where he grew up.

The National Football League announced a major UK initiative endorsed by some of the biggest names in sports that aims to use American football to create life-changing educational and professional opportunities for young people.

The NFL Academy, which begins operations in September 2019, will offer student athletes aged 16-18 the opportunity to combine education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.

Obada, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end, was assigned to Carolina’s practice squad in 2017 as part of the Player Pathway program. The London native then cracked the 53-man roster in 2018 and posted a sack and an interception in his NFL debut.

“Being from London and having spent time with so many young athletes there, I know how much the NFL Academy will mean to them,” said Obada, who will serve in an ambassadorial role for the academy. “To have the chance to pursue American football while receiving an education and other life-changing skills is an awesome opportunity. The values that the sport teaches go beyond the field and can help you make more of your life. I am really excited to give the NFL Academy my support and help these young people achieve their dreams.”