TODAY |

Young Kiwi talent preparing for chance of a lifetime at inaugural NFL trial - 'Open the gate for all of us'

Around the country, athletes like 21-year-old Zaire Ugapo are preparing for a shot at their NFL dream.

75 athletes from Australia, Fiji, Samoa and NZ will be selected to chase their grid iron dream. Source: 1 NEWS

The Tamaki Lightning defensive back is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of NRL players Jarryd Jayne and Jordan Mailata and cracking the big time.

"It'd be such a blessing," he said.

"Just a young kid from South Auckland to make it that far in a sport that's not from our country."

Last season, Mailata proved the Pacific has plenty to offer on his way to winning the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles, so it’s no surprise he's now the face of the first international NFL combine.

Ugapo's coach, Shiraz Soysa, says Mailata could be a pioneer for internationally scouted talent.

"I think Jordan's a great example of what they are looking at - someone who is a really good, raw athlete that they can mold and develop into a potential NFL player."

Soysa has five players pushing to be part of the 75 athletes picked from trials in Samoa, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

Taumoepenu grew up in the tiny village of Pea but now he’s plying his trade in San Francisco. Source: 1 NEWS

The NZ trials take place in Auckland and Wellington, with the first being run tomorrow in the City of Sails.

From the selected 75, the top five enter a three-month training camp in Florida to prepare for the NFL draft.

The NFL isn’t taking the process lightly either, with top Australian sports agents called in to facilitate the trials.

While trials like tomorrows are open, hopefuls must provide proof of an athletic background and be aged between 21 to 25.

Misiona Aiolupota-Pei only picked up Grid Iron a few years ago, but he's already leaving his mark on the American game. Source: 1 NEWS

The trial will consist of regular American exercises, including a 40-yard dash, the three-cone drill, and the bench press.

Soysa said the different drills could catch some off guard.

"It is a little bit of a challenge to our athletes who don't get necessarily get brought up with those tests."

Ugapo grew up watching his father, uncles and cousins play the game but they never had an opportunity like this, which is why he says he’s going to give it everything he has.

"Dreams can come true if you work hard.

"God willing, one of us make it to open the gate for all of us."

With more combines in the works, it's only a matter of time.