PREVIEW: 2014 Football European Championships – Team Finland

“the team from the Far North will be regarded as an underdog”

Everyday this week AFI will be bringing you an introduction to each country represented in this year’s 2014 Eat the Ball Football European Championship taking place in Austria from May 30th to June 7th. Game venues in the preliminary round will include Graz and St. Poelten, while the final games of the championship will be held at the Ernst Happel- Stadium in Vienna.



With five titles (’85, ’93, ’95, ’97, and ’00), four silver medals (’83, ’89, ’91, and ’01), and two bronze (’87, ’05), Finland has been the most successful nation in the European Championships. This time, however, the team from the Far North will be regarded as an underdog.

Learn about Team Finland HERE:

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2014 European Championships in Austria

Finland will begin play in St. Pölten, Austria before moving  to Vienna to continue the tournament. Playing in Group A, Finland with meet Sweden and the reigning European Champion Germany. Finland will play Germany Friday, 5/30 at 7 pm and Sweden on Sunday, 6/1 at 4 pm.

The Group A winner will meet the winner from Group B (Denmark, France, or Austria) in the 2014 European Championship Final played in Vienna on Saturday 6/7 at 7 pm. An IFAF Stockholm 2015 World Championship bid is at stake, as the European Champions win one of three places from the continent of  Europe.

Team Finland head coach Tuomas Heikkinen’s preparations for the games have been a long process, and rely strongly on the performance of his players. Heikkinen says,

” Our team is committed, unified, well-trained, healthy, confident and athletic. We have some of the absolute top-level players in Europe on this team. The team is, above all else, a whole, the players, team management, maintenance and support teams, and training. All of this comes together with a big heart, and everyone’s contribution is important.”

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.54.54 PMThe Finnish National team is meeting at the end of May before the European Championships for a training camp at the Pajulahti Sports Institute from 5/26 – 5/28. Coach Heikkinen again,

“The most important thing for us to do is to get together and get enough repetitions, (because the way we play must as one an in sync with one another.) Tempo and contact will not be very hard in training camp, because the players, of course, must be at top speed at the start of the first match.

We must get our special teams are built, … and all further emphasis is all on the spiritual side to gear up for a top performance.”

There is much competition for spots on Team Finland, but Heikkinen says he will have a solution and teams positions and lineup finalized by the end of camp.

Heikkinen says Team Finland’s goals are that the team must only have the first 48 hours in mind, the time when it will encounter such as Germany and Sweden.

2010 European Championships

In the last European Championships Finland started out slowly with losses to Austria (30-7) and Germany (23-4), but remained in the A-Group by defeating Great Britain 32-9 (18-0). With the victory, Finland’s finished the German edition of the European Championships in the fifth.

2010 EC

Follow Team Finland’s  journey on social media throughout the tournament.




And do not forget the official news channels: the of the European Championships, with the official hashtag is #FEC14, the Finnish official, is #jefuem2014. These hashtageillä you can follow and participate in Twitter and Instagrams.


Number Last Name First Name Position YOB Height (m) Weight (kg) Club Team
1 Olin Akseli DB/K/P 1992 1,86 94 Vantaa TAFT
2 Vennelä Seikko DB 1984 1,85 88 Anders Trojans Turku
3 Evwaraye Efe LB 1985 1,88 112 SAJL
4 Rantala Pekka CB 1987 1,75 75 Helsinki Roosters
5 Roiko Niko S 1992 1,78 81 Porvoo Butchers
6 Grönroos Kari K/P 1968 1,91 94 SAJL
7 Kadmiry Miro QB 1991 1,81 88 Hildesheim Invaders
8 Lehtinen Janne QB 1989 1,84 94 Simon Fraser University
10 Toivonen Sami LB 1988 1,85 100 Anders Trojans Turku
12 Lehtonen Veikka RB 1984 1,83 95 Örebro Black Knights
19 Hämäläinen Tuukka DB 1986 1,78 80 Helsinki Roosters
24 Järviö Ville RB 1988 1,71 90 Vaasa Royals
26 Leinonen Tuomas CB 1979 1,78 82 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
32 Nyström Toni CB 1992 1,78 82 Porvoo Butchers
34 Jaakonsaari Velipekka RB 1985 1,9 95 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
36 Koivumäki Juhani DB 1991 1,78 88 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
39 Sarvela Matias RB 1987 1,81 100 Helsinki Roosters
40 Kuikka Niko LB 1992 1,87 87 Vantaa TAFT
41 Koiranen Ilkka LB 1988 1,83 107 Anders Trojans Turku
43 Äyräväinen Santtu LB 1984 1,92 108 Helsinki Roosters
44 Kurvinen Ville WR 1979 1,88 91 Porvoo Butchers
45 Sjöblom Aarno LB 1975 1,91 98 Helsinki Roosters
55 Raatikainen Joonas LB/DL/FB 1990 1,85 95 Anders Trojans Turku
60 Alakoskela Riku OL 1991 1,96 130 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
65 Lahti Jere OL 1996 1,86 122 Helsinki Roosters
66 Luoto Iiro OL 1984 1,97 125 Helsinki Roosters
70 Aitala Aleksi DT 1989 1,93 132 Helsinki Roosters
73 Lautala Pasi OL 1980 1,91 140 Porvoo Butchers
75 Rantanen Sami OL 1986 1,97 125 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
77 Kaasalainen Akseli OL 1992 1,9 124 Helsinki Roosters
78 Tennberg Arttu OL 1990 1,94 128 Porvoon Butchers
79 Kuuttila Karri OL 1987 2 135 Anders Trojans Turku
80 Myöhänen Henri WR 1984 1,76 85 Helsinki Roosters
81 Pinta Tommi TE 1987 1,97 115 New Yorker Lions
82 Kougia Kristian WR 1985 1,88 85 Seinajoki Crocodiles
84 Mankki Tuomas WR 1991 1,75 80 Anders Trojans Turku
87 Lahti William WR 1989 1,87 95 Anders Trojans Turku
88 Saloranta Aappo WR 1991 1,94 87 Anders Trojans Turku
90 Outinen Okko DE 1989 1,92 114 Vantaa TAFT
91 Ceken Thomas DL 1975 1,84 122 Vaasa Royals
92 Vainio Lauri DL 1989 1,87 112 Helsinki Roosters
95 Sarvi Victor DL 1992 1,98 125 Helsinki Roosters
96 Kankaanpää Lasse DL 1985 1,93 110 Helsinki Roosters
99 Rautiainen Janne DL 1986 1,9 120 Seinäjoki Crocodiles
STAFF Heikkinen Thomas Head Coach
STAFF Wikström Kim Offensive coordinator
STAFF Holmström Jens Assistant coach / offensive
STAFF Vartiainen Marko Assistant coach / offensive
STAFF Tarvainen For Assistant coach / offensive
STAFF Titola Rocks Assistant coach / defense
STAFF Karppinen Kalle Assistant coach / defense
STAFF Talikka Jesse Physical trainer
STAFF Bezaire Andy Film / apuvalm / special teams
STAFF Pesonen Sami Physio / service
STAFF Mäkelä Janne Physio / service
STAFF Jormanainen Jenni Physio / service
STAFF Lehtinen Sami Physio / service
STAFF Åström Peter Doctor
STAFF Korelin Päivi Team Manager

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.