Arryn Siposs was a week shy of his 18th birthday and working at a Krispy Kreme in an Australian shopping mall when his life, unbeknownst to him, started to point toward America.

He was drafted that night by the Australian rules football team he grew up rooting for, and his phone buzzed with calls and texts.

Three days later, Siposs was training with the team. Six months later, he played his first game. It was a dream. Four years later, it was over.

A slew of injuries derailed what began as a promising career in the Australian Football League and the St. Kilda Saints released him. Siposs was hoping to play for 10 or 12 years. Instead, his tenure lasted just 28 games.

“It wasn’t ideal and it was something I wasn’t expecting,” said Siposs, 29. “It was very disappointing that it didn’t work out, but I still had goals that I wanted to achieve.”

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His dream was snapped, but his kicking career was not over. Siposs — who is in his first season with the Eagles — soon became one of Australia’s fastest-growing exports: an American football punter.

Of the 130 programs in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, 43% of them used Australian punters in 2021. Six of the last nine winners of the Ray Guy Award — given annually to the top collegiate punter — are from Australia. Of the four teams in the College Football Playoff, two featured Australian punters. And the top punter in this year’s recruiting class — Georgia-bound Brett Thorson — is Australian.

It was hard to watch a college football game this season without seeing an Australian booming punts.

The Australian punter is not new — the first Australian NFL punter debuted in 1995 and the Eagles have rostered an Australian punter in nine of the past 15 seasons — but it is no longer a novelty. Australians, thanks to a program built by a former Aussie rules player who unsuccessfully tried to break into the NFL, are taking over the punting game.

And that’s how Siposs found his way to Philadelphia.

Two years after being cut by the Saints, he joined ProKick Australia, a program founded in 2007 that is becoming a collegiate punting factory. The program has trained every Australian currently punting in college and the six who are punting in the NFL.

Like Siposs, most of them played Australian rules football — a sport that emphasizes punting — before testing their leg in American football.

“The way we play the sport back home, Australian rules, kicking needs to be very accurate to be effective,” Siposs said. “I think that’s kind of changed the game a little bit. You have to be quite good with your location and with where you’re putting it on the field, and that kind of gives us the advantage to come over here and really be effective. Especially in the college game. So many times you see the Australian guys where they do the roll-out and run to their right or left and then they’re able to put it in a nice spot where it’s hard to return.

“It’s kind of made the American kids practice their craft, too, and go, ‘OK. If I want to be good, this is what I need to work on as well.’ You can see the American guys continuing to build and all of a sudden, they’re figuring it out as well and playing really good. I think it’s upped the ante a little bit from a punting aspect instead of just worrying about trying to kick it as high and as long as possible.”

Nathan Chapman, who founded ProKick, spent a training camp with the Green Bay Packers after playing parts of eight seasons in the Australian Football League. He didn’t crack the NFL, but he did chart a course for other Australians.

Traditionally, the Australian NFL punter had been a veteran Aussie rules player who decided to move to the NFL and extend their playing days at the end of a grueling AFL career like Sav Rocca did with the Eagles in 2007.

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Chapman’s program — which can cost punters roughly $15,000 — trains the punters in Australia and connects them with scholarships to American colleges. If they didn’t make the NFL, they’d at least get the degree. In 2009, ProKick scored its first scholarship by sending Jordan Berry to Eastern Kentucky. He just finished his seventh year in the NFL.

“Our game, Australian rules football, is basically punting,” Chapman said. “It’s what we do. We do it on the run, we do it standing still, we do it rounding the corner. We do it whatever it is. You spend a lot of time as young kids developing that skill. As you get older and you get better at it and you get stronger, you get better at it and you gain more control.

“It makes us feel pretty comfortable when we go back to punt. We still have to learn the game. There’s things we have to learn. Kicking the ball is one thing, but you have to put yourself in those situations and that’s where development comes in because they haven’t played a game of American football before. They go across there and their first game of punting might be a game against a big program in front of 100,000 people. We have to get them ready for that.”

Chapman connected with Siposs shortly before he was drafted into the AFL, knowing he had the leg strength for American football. He planted the seeds for the punter’s second career just before he started his first one.

“‘Hey, listen, enjoy this process, but if it doesn’t work out — as it doesn’t for many — reckon that this is something you can do. If you’re interested in having a look, come down for a kick,’” Chapman said he told Siposs. “The guys here grow up wanting to play in the AFL and they want to be professionals over here. We aren’t trying to take them away from playing Aussie rules, but when they’re ready to try something different, then that’s when it’s a good time for us to have a chat with them.”

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After being cut, Siposs tried to keep his career alive by coaching and playing for a smaller team. Finally, he decided to give Chapman a chance.

“We’ll always say that the silly bugger waited two years longer than he could have,” Chapman said.

Siposs knew little about American football — his dad was a Dallas Cowboys fan and he watched a Super Bowl or two — but he knew he could kick. And that was enough for Chapman — who said he only accepts players into his program if he thinks they have the talent to reach America — to train him.

“It’s a 12- to 16-month process,” Chapman said. “We need to see you kick a college ball once. If you can do that, then it’s our job to teach you to kick it as often as you can. It would be silly of us to think that guys can just walk up, go across there, and play in the States. We certainly don’t think like that. We try to be really thorough and develop the guys and give them the best opportunity to play well.”

Siposs earned a scholarship to Auburn, punted for two years in the Southeastern Conference, and went undrafted after leaving school early. He spent last season on Detroit’s practice squad before signing before this season with the Eagles. He replaced Cameron Johnston, who was also trained by Chapman.

His first season has not been perfect — Siposs shanked two punts in Saturday’s regular-season finale against Dallas — but he has shown promise. He should play an important role on Sunday as the Eagles will need to secure good field position against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There won’t be any allowance for 22-yard punts.

Twelve years after working in a donut shop, Siposs made it to America. His kicking dream is still alive.