One More Year….. (Again)

Hello everyone! I hope life is treating you all well and that you have recovered from the strain and excitement of last season in Helsinki. I am extremely pleased to say that I have not recovered from the elation of capturing the championship in that final thrilling game. I’m not sure that the feeling will ever leave me.

Helsinki Wolverines - Maple Bowl Champions 2011

But onwards and upwards we must go. One cannot dwell on past glories, but instead must look forward to future endeavours. With that in mind, it is with great pleasure that I can announce that I will be returning to play for the Wolverines once again in the 2012 season. I had been toying with the idea of returning to British football in order to be around for the Olympic Games in London, but the draw of Helsinki was simply too great.

The new season brings a wealth of opportunities and challenges, both for the Wolverines and for me personally. The first is the team’s appearance in the European Football League (Eurobowl) competition. This is the Champions League of American football. As winners of the Maple Bowl last season, we have qualified to take on the goliaths of European football in a knock-out competition. We open the season with home and away fixtures against the Calanda Broncos from Switzerland for the right to progress to the quarter finals. This is a fantastic opportunity for the team to represent Finland on the European stage and the chance to test ourselves against Europe’s finest is a magnificent reward for the efforts of last season.

Further challenges await in the Maple league, where we immediately find ourselves with targets painted on our backs. I am more than used to being the underdog in sporting situations and I thrive on the prospect of taking down a superior opponent. But with the success of last season, comes the responsibility of defending a title. It is often said that this is harder than winning one in the first place as complacency can set in. Furthermore, opponents all wish to overturn the reigning champions in order to get their shot at the title. I am quite sure that the Wolverines will continue to battle with the tenacity that we have done for the past two years. New season, new opportunity.

The best news is that the management has been working extremely hard to ensure that we have the weapons necessary to face our challenges. We have suffered huge losses in the forms of Joe Doss and Ben Webb, who will not be returning this year. However, in their stead, we have picked up a host of talent from across Finland and further afield. Kalle Da Silva and Teemu Kuusisto both return to the Wolverines after a year with rival teams. Efe Evwaraye and Mike Andrew both join us from the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes of the German Football League. Finally (for now), Karri Kuuttila has joined the team, having been at camp with the NFL’s St Louis Rams last season.

All of this leaves us pointing firmly in the right direction. I am excited to see how it all looks when I finally touch down in Helsinki at the start of April. I am looking forward to seeing all of my old friends. Finally, I am looking forward to sharing another Finnish football season with all of you.