*Continuing investment into UK sport, the Gridiron Grant University Scholarship demonstrates growing appetite for NFL in the UK *
The Jacksonville Jaguars, the UK's NFL home team, and Official UK Founding Partner, LGT Vestra US, have created a unique new scholarship opportunity called the Gridiron Grant.
The Gridiron Grant is a first of its kind sports scholarship programme in the UK, offering a university scholarship to two students graduating from the specialist Jaguars JagTag programme, or who are involved in American football in their community.
After completing their best season since 1999, reaching the AFC Championship Game earlier this month, the Jacksonville Jaguars with wealth management firm LGT Vestra US have kicked off the Gridiron Grant initiative with a training session held by former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and Super Bowl winner, Mark Brunell. The NFL legend, who is now Head Coach at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, was on hand to show his skills and teach a group of up and coming JagTag players some tricks of the trade while overlooking London's iconic Tower Bridge; demonstrating the partnership between American football and the thriving community of young people playing it in the UK.
Students interested in the scholarship opportunity have until April 20th 2018 to apply for the Gridiron Grant, at which point a panel of experts that includes LGT Vestra US executives, Jaguars representatives and an award winning head teacher will select the recipients based on a range of criteria such as academic achievement, participation in American Football, commitment to the community and a demonstration of personal endeavour. The inaugural winners of the Gridiron Grant will be announced later this year following the completion of the academic year. Once at university, students will also be provided with a fully integrated mentoring process to aid with stress and time management and support required to help them graduate. To apply for the Gridiron Grant please visit: http://www.gridirongrant.co.uk.
This season the Jaguars finished with a record of 10-6, clinching the AFC South and scoring their first winning season since 2007 and sending them through to the Super Bowl playoffs for the first time in a decade. The 2017 season will go down as one to remember for Jaguars fans across the world, and 2018 could be even better for two lucky British American football players thanks to the new Gridiron Grant.
This announcement follows the first commitment from the Jaguars and LGT Vestra US, which previously introduced the Reward Rows initiative that saw more than 500 children who had completed the programme earn the chance to go to Wembley to watch the Jaguars v Ravens in September last year for free.
The Jaguars and LGT Vestra US are committed to continuing to collaborate on community projects as a key pillar of their partnership with the aim of generating a positive impact on the sporting community in the UK through a range of American football related activities, fostering further growth of the game at a grassroots level and importantly providing opportunities for young people to prosper.
Mark Brunell commented "We've seen some incredible energy and enthusiasm from the players today. I'm constantly amazed at how good the talent is in the UK and it's great that we're nurturing and teaching these future stars as much as possible. To include the education side on this is extremely important for later life and shows the commitment and just how serious the Jacksonville Jaguars are to supporting the UK community through American football."
Senior Vice President, International Development for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hussain Naqi said, "The Gridiron Grant scholarship programme sits within a range of initiatives we have created to engage and inspire young people in the UK, particularly through participation in sport. We're delighted that we could work with LGT Vestra US to bring this unique offering to the UK which will allow us to engage even more young people every year, and give the chance of a lifetime for two outstanding students to be put through university."
Paul Nixon, CEO LGT Vestra US said: "We're extremely excited to announce the Gridiron Grant scholarship programme with the Jacksonville Jaguars. We look forward to announcing the inaugural winners of the grant later this year, and continuing to work with the Jacksonville Jaguars to engage more young people and develop grassroots American football."
Sir William Atkinson –award winning head teacher said"I am incredibly excited by this new venture from the Jacksonville Jaguars and LGT Vestra US. Linking together sport and business with education is a powerful partnership – one that breeds development and progress; the skills and discipline that American football players learn in terms of the importance of team work will benefit the recipients of the Gridiron Grant greatly as they move forwards in to university education and then the world of work. I am looking forward to reviewing the applicants we have for the grant and would encourage all young American football players in the UK to give it a go."