Jordanian defensive tackle receives full scholarship for US

An undated photo of Ammar Kelib holding the Jordanian flag in his Spartans American football uniform. (Photo: Jordanian League of American Football)
AMMAN — After the sixth season of the Jordanian American Football League concluded last Friday with Barracudas winning the title, one player was able to claim the big prize of making a career out of playing the sport. اضافة اعلان
Ammar Kelib (19) is the first Jordanian athlete to get a full scholarship offer to play American Football in an American university.

“I started playing the sport in 2017 after I met one of the coaches who was working in the Jordanian League of American Football at the time, Coach Jordan, who became my mentor, later he asked me to join training with the Amman Barracudas, and that was the beginning of a joyful journey,” he said.
“I ended up winning two league titles with the Barracudas, and as well as winning the most valuable player award, that got me a place in the national team, which was a great way to build up experiences,” he added.

Kelib currently plays defensive tackle for the Amman Spartans. He also currently studies software engineering at Princess Sumaya University for Technology. Through an online recruitment system called the Podyum Preps — a website that aims to demystify the admissions and recruiting process and assist student-athletes from all over the world in pursuing their academic and athletic goals — he was able to get multiple offers for opportunities to play American football abroad.

“Hussam Yassine, the commissioner of the Jordanian League of American Football, has helped me with every single detail of this process,” he said, adding that Yassine’s work as a talent scout made him more than qualified to help Kelib with the paperwork and scholarships. 

Most sports that are run by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are divided into three divisions: Division 1 (D1), Division 2 (D2), and Division 3 (D3). Divisions have been established to level the playing field by pitting similar-sized programs against one another. 

Every school gets to choose which division they want to play in, but they must meet NCAA division standards and generally play in the same division for all sports. 

Because D1 sports are usually televised and generate the most players to the National Football League (NFL), most athletes seek to join schools with a D1 program. However, only a small percentage of high school athletes can play at the D1 level — for American Football, only one out of every 100 high school players will play at the D1 level. 

“I got offers from D1, D2, D3 teams, but to get the most out of this experience, the best decision for me is going to the D2 league, as I will not probably get a lot of playing time in the D1 team … so the plan is to play for one year in D2, and then move up to a university that plays D1,” said Kelib.

According to a study done by the NCAA, the chances of receiving a D1 football scholarship are very small. There are only about 125 D1 programs, and each one offers around 85 scholarships. Meaning that there are roughly 10,000 scholarship D1 football players out there. 

With roughly 1.5 million high school players, the odds are less than 1 for an American student to play in a D1 league, so the chances for players that have never competed in the US are close to none.

“It’s definitely a step in the right path to get to eventually get to the NFL; it’s a huge challenge that I have been working very hard to be ready for,” Kelib concluded.

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