LIVESTREAM Finland: Kuopio Steelers @ Helsinki Roosters, May 14th, 15:30 CET, (3:30 pm 9:30 am ET)

The Maple League in Finland kicks off the 2022 season with a highly anticipated matchup. In a rematch of last year’s Maple Bowl, the defending champion Kuopio Steelers will head down to the country’s capital and take on the Helsinki Roosters. Fans are excited to see two of the league’s best teams battle it kicking off another season in Finland.

The Kuopio Steelers look to make history this year and turn their back-to-back championships into a three-peat. Led by head coach Pekka Utriainen the Steelers have several familiar faces back in red and black this season. Offensively, quarterback Joey Bradley returns after an excellent 2021 campaign. He’s joined by running back Le’Anthony Reasonover (Eureka – NCAA Division III) who was the league’s second-leading rusher last year totaling 1,252 yards and 15 touchdowns. Finnish talent returns as well as running back Tuuka Lehtonen, Tino Ndongo, and Iro Pekkarinen return to Kupio. The Steelers did however lose in AllEurope tackle Basil Weber to the ELF in the off-season.

LIVESTREAM Finland: Kuopio Steelers @ Helsinki Roosters, May 14th, 15:30 CET, (3:30 pm 9:30 am ET)

Defensively, the Steelers have brought in several new pieces including Finnish talent Peter Lundstrum and luring back Iro Pekkarinen from the ELF. American Linebacker Cody Leonard (Quincy NCAA DII) joins all-star defensive lineman Ikeem Allen (Miami OH NCAA DI) on the Steelers defense along with French pass rusher Boris Degas.

After losing the Maple Bowl in a close game last season, the Roosters are determined to return to their former glory and the league’s top spot. Coach Juha Hakala returns along with a strong core of Finnish players. Offensively, with the retirement of Miro Kadmiry last season the Roosters have brought in former Indianapolis University (NCAA DII) quarterback Bryce Stancombe. Helsinki’s new quarterback will look to target domestic talents Willem Kajander, Santtuu Vehkomaki, and recent transfer Aymeric Nicault of France.

The offensive line will be led by Aki Ako and former defensive end Cam Gruel. The running back positions remain a question in Helsinki as the Roosters will likely use a stable of backs.

Defensively, the Roosters have brought in two imports to help them on the backend. The first is international veteran Emory Polley (Brown NCAA DI) who brings experience from Germany and Japan. The other is Nolan Bernat who recently finished his career with the University of Illinois (NCAA DI) Fighting Illni in the elite Big Ten conference.

The defensive line should be a strength for the Roosters as they bring back veterans Christer Beg and Otto Oinonen. One new player on the defensive lineman Kaleb Wezdenko (Grand View NCAA DII). Wezkenko is a veteran of Finnish football player several years for the Kotka Eagles.

Both teams are excited to kick off the season with players, fans, and coaches gearing up for a great 2022. The Maple League picked a great matchup to reignite one of the best leagues in Europe.

Watch the game live on Kuopio Steelers @ Helsinki Roosters, May 14th, 15:30 CET, (3:30 pm 9:30 am ET)

Helsinki Roosters Depth

Kuopio Steelers Depth

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