21 July, 2023

Trip of a lifetime as NFL dream beckons

D’Aguilar resident and St Columban’s College year 11 student Kelli Kassulke is ready to chase his dream of a career in the American-based National Football League (NFL).

Trip of a lifetime as NFL dream beckons - feature photo

As soon as his visa is ready, Kelli will head to the United States to attend the Layton Christian Academy in Utah, while the school accommodates international students.

Kelli intends to play gridiron for the school varsity team, as part of his focus to progress to the NFL.

A supporter of the Miami Dolphins, Kelli has only had a brief career in gridiron so far, having switched from soccer early last year and taken up a position for the Deception Bay Raptors.

Kelli, who plays as a kicker and strong safety, suffered a broken and dislocated shoulder in last November’s semi-finals but he didn’t have second thoughts about his ambitions.

The St Columban’s student attended a ‘Combine’, organised by Gridiron Australia. The NFL International Combine is an invitational scouting showcase which is designed to discover and evaluate possible NFL talent, and open a pathway to NFL ranks.

The process started with a series of regional testing days in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa.

The coach from Utah was involved in the session which Kelli attended at Brisbane Grammar School on July 3 for players aged 13 to 19, and the coach subsequently invited him to come and play at the school in Utah.

Kelli’s mum Jolene said her son was so excited to get to play football in the arena, and to play “with a team and coach who just know football”.

Jolene said her son expected there would be “a lot of training”, and that Kelli enjoyed the atmosphere and the technical aspect of gridiron as well as the attention the sport brought.


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