Finland: Helsinki Roosters sign Michael Wood as new DC

The Helsinki Roosters of Finland’s Maple League have signed former Milano Seamen championship head coach Michael Wood as their defensive coordinator for the 2024 season.

The 60-year-old Wood spent the 2023 season as the defensive coordinator of the Alcobendas Cavaliers in Spain’s top league, the LNFA. 

In 2022, he served as the head coach of the Catania Elephants in Italy’s second division. He was the defensive coordinator for the Barcelona Dragons of the European League of Football for the latter part of the 2021 season joining the team with five games to go. With Wood running the defense, the Dragons won two of their final three games of the season.

Prior to joining the Dragons in 2021, Wood led the Seamen to the Italian Bowl in where they lost in overtime to the Parma Panthers. He had been the head coach for the Seamen since the 2018 season leading them to a 28-4 overall record with two Italian titles and a second place.

The former Ohio State Buckeye defensive back, who played in four bowl games including the Rose Bowl, has built up an impressive coaching resume over the past 30 years following the end of his playing career which included two seasons with Germany’s Kempten Comets.

He has had coaching stints with the Paris Mousquetaires, the Italian national team, Ithaca College in New York, Columbia University, Pomona-Pitzer College, and Chapman University. His European coaching background includes the Bolzano Giants, Danube Dragons, Flash La Courneuve (2014), and the Allgäu Comets (2015). He served as the defensive coordinator of the Giants again in 2017. Following the Italian season, he then took on the defensive coordinator’s role with the Europe Warriors team that played against one of Mexico’s top college teams, the UNAM Pumas CU in August of 2017.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.