Finland: Kuopio Steelers add one of Europe’s premier linebackers, AJ Wentland

After winning their first game of the year in Finland’s Maple League last week, the Kuopio Steelers have reinforced their defense with the addition of arguably Europe’s top linebacker, AJ Wentland.

Wentland has been the heart of the Dresden Monarchs defense in the German Football League for the past two seasons. As he did in 2018, he led the league from wire to wire last season, with 205 tackles averaging 13 a game.  He had 17 in Dresden’s 42-14 win over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes early in the year and 16 in the Monarchs quarterfinal victory over the Marburg Mercenaries. His 205 tackles was one shy of his own record of 206 tackles in 2018.

The 6’3″, 225 lb native of Rockford, Illinois was a standout two-time All American  linebacker with the McKendree University Bearcats (NCAA, Division II) where he was also a three-time All GLVC (Great Lakes Valley Conference) linebacker. Over three years he amassed a total of 412 tackles including 145 in 11 games in his senior year, 2017. He also had two touchdowns, three interceptions and six forced fumbles.

Needless to say, Wentland is happy about the opportunity to play football again:

“Since our league in Germany officially cancelled Friday, I signed with Kuopio and fly out on Wednesday. I’m very excited about this. It was a very spontaneous decision.”

Check out highlights from 2019 season with Dresden Monarchs

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