Kristiansander (21) impressed in a historic test match

As the first Norwegian, I traveled to Canada for trials to impress professional teams in the second best American football league in the world.

Mads Erikssen Flåt (21) from Hånes has been playing American football for less than a year. But after impressive results back home in Norway, he traveled to Canada to try out for professional teams in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Photo: Kevin Sousa/LCF

INTERPRETER’S BLOG: I had a wonderful experience in Canada. Getting to know players from all over the world and competing against each other has taught me a lot. I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, as the first Norwegian.

It all started when I had the opportunity to join a “combined” in Oslo at the end of February.

A combine is an event where you have to do several physical tests such as 40 yard sprint, long jump and bench press. These are movement exercises that all athletes have. So each different position on the court has its own drills in addition.

Everything we did in Oslo was filmed and sent to the Canadian Football League (CFL), where the player with the best results had the opportunity to show up for all nine CFL teams in a combine located in Toronto. That’s when I got this chance.

Checked from head to toe

I arrived in Toronto on Wednesday March 23 and stayed at a hotel with the other 34 players from around the world.

On the first day, recordings and measurements were made. Among other things, they measured the percentage of fat, the size of my hand and its distance from one hand to the other.

Tests were also done on flexibility and a medical check-up, where I had to fill out a form on various injuries I had had. After that, it was up to the doctor to check the body from head to toe.


I was the only Norwegian among the 35 world athletes who participated in the trials in front of the CFL clubs in Toronto.
Photo: Kevin Sousa/LCF

Encouragement interview with a pro player

On the second day, photos and videos were taken, where we posed in a so-called “power pose”.

After that, I had an interview in a room where I was sitting on a small couch. All the defensive coaches of the nine CFL teams were represented there, seated with their notebooks to ask me various questions. It went surprisingly well, although I was quite stressed about walking into the room where there were 15-20 people sitting in front of me.

Later in the evening, we had a meeting with professional player Henoc Muamba, linebacker for the CFL club, the Toronto Argunauts. He tried to calm us down and give us some tips to perform better.

Something he often repeated was, “It’s not that bad, but it still is”. He also gave us tips on how to stay focused when it matters most.


Henoc Muamba (liar) pictured from his time with the NFL team Dallas Cowboys, for whom Muamba played in 2016.
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Reuters

Difficult physical challenges

On the third day, the physical tests began. In addition to the 35 global actors, 45 national actors participated. With a total of 80 players, it was therefore the largest combination in the CFL to date.

After a few jumping exercises, the bench press with 102 kilos on the scale followed. Although I couldn’t hold the weight on my chest and had to fully extend my arms, I ended up beating in 21 reps.

On the last day, we were divided into groups according to the position you belong to and carried out the final tests on the football field. So I was split with the rest of the linebackers.

I jumped 3.31 meters in the standing length and performed various cone and sprint drills. Among other things, I ran the “40 yard dash”, which is a sprint exercise over 40 yards (36.5 meters), in a time of 4.66 seconds. This corresponds to the era of NFL linebackers.

Finally, we had linebackers (defensive players) one-on-one against running backs (attacking players). We finished with some passing drills which I did well.

Can be drafted in May

I felt like I did well at the combine even though I only played American football for less than a year. So I met players who have been playing this sport since the age of six to twelve and who are considered to be among the best talents in the world.

Compared to the other 35 players in the world, I got 6th place in the bench press, shared 5th place in the vertical jump. 4th place in the 40-yard sprint and 3rd place in the long jump. Overall, I’m very happy with my effort.


Overall, I’m very pleased with my efforts at the Toronto Combine.
Photo: Kevin Sousa/LCF

Players who have impressed have the option of being drafted by CFL teams on May 3. As for my chances of being drafted by either team, I don’t know. It all depends on how much value they place on my experience in American football. The positive thing is that I have no habits, and if a team chooses me, they can shape me as they want.

Now I’m looking forward to the draft in May.

Alice Williamson

"Explorer. Food advocate. Analyst. Freelance bacon practitioner. Future teen idol. Proud pop culture expert."

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