Finland: Helsinki Roosters add former Illinois DB Nolan Bernat

The Helsinki Roosters for Finland’s Maple League have signed former University of Illinois (NCAA D1) defensive back Nolan Bernat.

Bernat is thrilled to be joining 22-time Finnish champions.

“I would tell Rooster fans to get their popcorn ready, it’s going to be an exciting season. We’re going to fly around and have fun.”

The 5’10,” 190 pound defender played in 22 games with the Illini over the course of three seasons. The Barlett, Illinois native made 11 tackles, one interception, and one pass deflection while playing primarily cornerback and special teams. The 23-year old walked on at Illinois after one season of junior college playing at College of Dupage recording 15 tackles, two tackles for a loss, and six pass breakups in five games. While playing for the Illini, Bernat was coached by former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.

After his final collegiate season in 2019, Bernat spent the 2021 season back at the College of Dupage serving as the team’s defensive back coach and c0-special teams coordinator.

Bernat joins a Roosters team led once again by head coach Juha Hakala. The Roosters achieved eight straight championships from 2012-2019 and are looking to regain the league’s championship in 2022.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and