Preview: IFAF Europe North Group Final – Roosters v. Crusaders, 5/17

“One could also claim that the winner of this game is the best football team of Scandinavia!”

On Saturday the 17th of May  the Helsinki Roosters host an outstanding home game season opener.  The winner of the North Group  of the 2014 IFAF Europe Champions League  will be either Swedish or Finnish 2013 national champion. At the Helsinki Velodrome, the Carlstad Crusaders and Helsinki Roosters will fight for the place to Champions League’s Final Four tournament which will be played in Le Mans, France July 10th–12th. One could also claim that the winner of this game is the best football team of Scandinavia.

Helsinki Roosters were impressive, especially in the first half, of their first round game against Örebro Black Knights (61-43). But there is lots of room for improvement. For instance,  the Roosters defense had too many penalty yards. Carlstad’s passing offense is very dangerous even without the free plays the Roosters defensive line gives when they jump offside. The Roosters offense must also be much more focused against the Swedish football power house. Crusaders did not start their first game so well. The Copenhagen Towers almost stopped their journey towards Le Mans.

“We managed to turn off the negative energy and return strong”, said quarterback Anders Hermodsson after the game. The Crusaders had a great come from behind effort that took them to 34-24 victory over Danish champion Copenhagen Towers.

Match Teaser:

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At the Helsinki Velodrom there will be seen two talented and well coached physical teams, which have taken lesson of the season opener game and are now ready to play the best football in Nordics.

Carlstad Crusaders’ head coach and offensive coordinator Matt Adkins is looking forward to meet Finnish champions

10255281_10152364629775435_6827168517679614750_nThe Helsinki Roosters will present the biggest challenge that the Crusaders have seen in recent memory. The team is extremely well coached with great players executing their schemes. The Roosters come into the game experienced in international play having already beat the Örebro Black Knights this year and competing last year internationally.

Offensively they have two dynamic import players in Robert Johnson and Jayce Spears. Both are extremely athletic and have the ability to change the game anytime they touch the ball. With these two standouts, Helsinki also boasts a great offensive line and an exceptional wide receiver core. Despite being a spread team that loves to throw the ball around they have shown the ability to have success running the ball in a variety of ways.

Defensively the Roosters boast an exceptional scheme. They run a defense that is sound and leads to their consistent play. Outside of the talented players that they have you can tell that they are very disciplined and receive outstanding coaching. The strength lies in their front. They are exceptionally big and play with a high motor. Anyone who has to play against the Roosters will have to find a way to match the fronts intensity to have success. They receive a boost when Jayce Spears comes over and plays corner. He is an extremely talented athlete who gives them a new dynamic when he plays defense.

The Crusaders organization could not be more excited to play against a high-caliber team like the Roosters. We have the utmost respect for both the players and coaches with the Roosters and look forward to competing at kick off.

Helsinki Roosters’ head coach and defensive coordinator Juha Hakala has a lot of respect for Swedish champs Carlstad Crusaders:

20130907_Carlstad_Crusaders_vs_Örebro_Black_Knights_33Carlstad Crusaders who have won four consecutive Swedish Championships is a first class team that is very well coached.

On offense the team is build up around the mobile Swedish National Team quarter back Anders Hermodsson. Hermodsson can do damage with his own runs and has good timing and ability to find his favorite wide receiver Fredrik Isaksson. Fredrik Isaksson is fast receiver that runs good routes and also can bring match-up problems for most of the defenders with his tall frame.

Crusaders have also a solid offensive line and from the backfield you can find their U.S. import running back Brett Koepp who is true power-back with extremely good balance as a runner.

On defense Crusaders run a 3-3-5 that always brings pressure from different places, so our pass protection has to be alert with their blitz-scheme on every snap. On defensive line we see good talent in form Billy Enfjäll, Johan Asker, Olof Flemström and Swedish National Team player Marco Gudding. The linebackers’ group is also led by a Swedish National Team player Christian Kuylenstjerna.

The secondary of Crusaders also has good talent level and e.g. Olof Eriksson has experience playing college football in US. Crusaders second US import defensive back Jack Moro can be found from the secondary, he had a record-breaking career at St. Cloud State University, interception record with 21 interceptions. Moro also had his first interception in Europe, as he caught one in the last IFAF game against Copenhagen Towers.

We expect a great close game between clearly the two most talented teams in whole Scandinavia and North Europe.

Helsinki Roosters welcome all of you to this top-class event!

Before the game the crowd will be entertained by Lennokkipojat with their fast and action-packed combat model airplane show.

Finnish rap group Gasellit will perform at the half time. They are known for their outspoken and rough suburban vibe and lyrics. Come and enjoy!

You won’t get hungry at the game! Sausages, chicken wings and “Linesmen” special will be sold on two catering points. Small sweet fritters, coffee, tea and soft drinks are also available.

Boston’s finest sports bar O’Learys will be serving American brews and snacks at the alcohol licensed area.

We urge you to reserve cash with you even though some of the sales points will have possibility to pay with credit cards. O’Learys area will be cash only! Closest ATM is on Rautatieläisenkatu, about 600m away from the Velodrome.

Advance tickets can be bought from Lippupalvelu. With advance ticket there is no queuing to the event, so get your tickets now!

Tickets & Game day Info
15€ adults; 10€ kids between 12-17 years-old, students, military and senior citizens. Advance ticket and tickets from the Velodrome. Kids under 12 free of charge. The after party will be held at O’Learys Forum in the city centre. Roosters team will also be there to enjoy the night. When you buy a drink from O’Learys at the game you will get a drink ticket to be used at the after party on the same night. Be early and to avoid any rush and to get a good seat! The gates will open at 1pm. Team introductions will be at 1:35pm and kick off at 2pm. Kick-off at 2pm (Gates will open at 1pm)

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.