ST Mary’s University College student Charlie Smyth has signed to play in the NFL next year with the New Orleans Saints.

Charlie, who studied MSc Sport and PE for Young People at the Falls Road university college, is the first Irish person to sign via the NFL International Player Pathway scheme.

As a result he will now be swapping his MSc at St Mary’s for a life-changing opportunity in New Orleans with the Saints as an NFL kicker.

As an 18-year-old he emailed the NFL to enquire how he could play American Football and he will now have the opportunity to live that dream.

The 22-year-old from Mayobridge in County Down will link up with the Saints in their international player spot, of which every NFL team has one.

Smyth impressed at the International Player Pathway Pro-Day, kicking a 63-yard goal in the last days of training, just three yards shy of the NFL record.