Christian Powell: Finland’s fiercest Crocodile

Without question, Seinäjoki Crocodiles running back Christian Powell was a dominant force in Finland’s Maple League this season.

Again.

In the pandemic shortened 2020 Maple League season, the former Colorado University Buffalo (NCAA FBS) ran for 841 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 6 games helping the Crocodiles make the playoffs for the second year in a row. Powell’s performance was no surprise to fans of Finnish football as his 2019 campaign statistics were truly eye popping, when he rushed for 1,775 yards and 17 touchdowns in 13 games. In 2018, his first year playing in Europe, Powell rushed for 860 yards and three touchdowns.

In other words, since joining the Crocodiles in 2018, the 6′, 230 pound Powell from Upland, California, has been shouldering the offensive load for his team.

Which is fine with him.

Christian Powell avoiding a Helsinki Wolverines tackler Photo: Seinäjoki Crocodiles

Powell is perfectly happy carrying the load for the Crocodiles and explains why he signed on for three consecutive seasons in an era which sees import players flit from team to team:

“On and off the field, it has just been a place that I have really enjoyed being. The organization does its part in making sure you feel welcome and that your experience is as good as it can be. Along with that, the locals have also been a good group of people to meet and get to know as the years go on. I couldn’t have called this when I first signed, but the amount of love and support I have been shown makes it tough to want to get away, which is why I have signed back on multiple occasion”

The versatile Powell arrived in Finland from the University of Colorado by way of Upland High School in California where he starred playing fullback, running back, and defensive end. After a fantastic senior year that featured a 12-1 record and all conference honors, Powell was rated as one of the top fullback prospects in the nation. After taking a few visits and fielding scholarship offers from numerous division one programs including Nebraska, UCLA, and Texas A&M,  Powell chose the University of Colorado.

“I took all five of my official visits to different schools: Nebraska, Texas A&M, Washington, Colorado, and UCLA. But I ultimately fell in love with Colorado because of the city itself as well as the coaching staff that recruited me. The coaches were real genuine people that I could see myself playing for and Boulder was a town that I vibed with and saw myself living there even outside of football.”

During his first season at Colorado, Powell transitioned from fullback to running back. This proved to be a great decision by him and his coaches as Powell finished his college career with 2,040 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns leading the team in rushing for three consecutive seasons.

“I had a good experience there, just the whole experience of being a college athlete was definitely a challenge, but one of the most rewarding challenges and experiences I think. Just from the atmosphere, to getting to travel around and play at all these different places was great.”

Christian Powell switched from fullback to running back with the University of Colorado Buffaloes Photo: Jonathan Ferrey

After his stellar collegiate career, Powell was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent. After going through training camp and preseason, Powell was released by the Steelers and was out of football for a year. After hearing about football in Europe from his former college teammates. Powell took a chance and joined the Seinäjoki Crocodiles organization.

“ I heard about it from a lot of guys I played with at Colorado who had been doing it a while, before I seriously started considering it. They kept telling me a lot of good things about it and how fun of an experience it was, so I decided to finally look into it myself which I’m glad I  did.  ”

Powell is one of a few former Colorado Buffaloes playing in Europe, including Clark Evans, the current quarterback of the Thonon Black Panthers of France and Jaleel Awini, a former Hildesheim Invaders wide receiver and Frankfurt Universe quarterback (Germany). Powell’s current football goals are to continue playing and building the Seinäjoki organization.

“ I just want to find ways to get better as a player each and every year, and enjoy this game while I can still play. After sitting out for a year and almost giving it up, my love and appreciation for the game has gone up. So that’s why simply I just want to be the best I can be as a player and just enjoy being on the field, and everything else will come with that. ”

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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