Finnish WR Micky Kyei’s football journey has taken another turn

Finnish wide receiver Micky Kyei is still in disbelief.

He was picked, along with Sebastien Sagne as one of two athletes who attended the CFL Global Combine in Finland this past week, to travel to Toronto on March 24 to participate in the CFL Combine.

“I was pretty surprised. I really wasn’t expecting to be picked. I did not perform that well in the tests.”

Still, the 5’8″, 193-pound receiver who some would call too short to play football, stood out at the combine to CFL Director of International Scouting Greg Quick.

“Micky may look diminutive but few were as strong as he was which means he is durable,” said Quick. “He had good speed but it was his change of direction that caught my eye. And his positive attitude.”

Kyei has been playing football for the past 14 years starting in his hometown of Porvoo, Finland, about 50 kilometres east of Helsinki, the capital. But it was the year he spent in high school in Owatonna, Minnesota that changed him.

“Everyone bought in. The entire town lived and breathed the high school football team.”

The 27-year-old, who is a close friend and former teammate on the Dresden Monarchs of Swedish Combine pick, William James, is a highly sought-after receiver in Europe. He spent the part of the past season playing for the top team in Europe, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions from Germany, where helped the Lions win the German championship as the team’s top receiver in that game. Interestingly, he was also a teammate of James on the Manly Marlins rugby team in Australia for six months.

“Playing rugby in Australia was a great experience, especially since I got to play with William again.”

Quick saw something in Kyei that reminded him of one of the CFL’s finest receivers in the past decade and 2012 CFL MOP, Chad Owens.

“He runs great routes and there is some ‘electricity’ to him. I could compare him to Chad Owens. He can get free in traffic but he can also waggle back in the box to provide protection.”

The Finnish receiver did not know much about the Canadian Football League before he was invited to the combine.

“I had no idea how much of a difference there was. Since then I have seen a couple of games. I can see it being a big adjustment, especially for a receiver but it’s really exciting too. I have talked a lot to Kimi Linnainmaa [Finnish receiver with Toronto Argonauts] so I have an idea what I need to work on.”

Before this opportunity came along, Kyei, like James had been considering stepping away from football, to get a job in IT, his chosen profession. And if he doesn’t get picked in the CFL Draft, that is still what he will likely do. But for now, he is focused getting ready for the CFL Combine in Toronto.

 

Roger Kelly
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.
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