WWC 2013: Team Finland

Women have played tackle football in Finland since 2008. Previously ladies played semi-contact football which was a mix between flag and tackle Football. 

Since 2008 Finnish Women´s National Team in tackle football has been involved in international competition as in fall 2008 Finland hosted game vs Sweden which Finland won 64-0. Since then it has been annual happening between Finland and Sweden to play an international game. Finland has come out as a winner each year but Sweden has made enormous improvement year by year and level of football has improved. Besides this annual game against Sweden, Finland has played friendly game against Germany in 2011.

Biggest highlight has been the first World Championships in Sweden 2010, where Finland finished as bronze medalist beating Germany in bronze game 26-18.

Preparation for this year´s competition started in April when 70 eager women footballers gathered for the first camp. 50 are going to next camp in June to compete for the final 45 spots on roster.

Coaching Staff
Head Coach, Jorma Hytönen
  • Started coaching 1986
  • Served as position coach / defensive coordinator / head coach for Finnish Men’s Football team between 1991-1998, winning three European titles, bronze medal, European junior title etc. Served as head coach in first Japan-Euro bowl in 1998 
  • Club team participation 1986-2007, 2012-; as head coach, defensive coordinator, position coach. Achievements; 1 division champion with Kannelmäki Whips, Maple league champion with Helsinki Roosters twice , Maple league silver with Helsinki Roosters

Defensive coordinator, Tuukka Hämäläinen
  • has coached football since 2007, with u19 junior national team 2009-2013, and with women´s national team 2010-2013. He has won two silver medals in Nordic championships for u19 and bronze medal in WWC 2010.
  • as a player has won 1 senior national title in Maple league, 3 national gold medals both in junior u19 and junior u21 level and Nordic gold medal in junior u19 level
Offensive coordinator, Teemu Kuusisto
  • Has been coaching women’s football (tackle, semi-contact and flag) in Finland at club level and national team level from early 1990’s
  • Served as Team Finland’s head coach in WWC 2010 and received second team All Star coaching nomination
  • Has won over ten different Finnish championships as women’s coach
  • Has served as a player coach in Maple league top teams for over a decade
Other coaches:
Heikki Kuusela , OL
Toni Luomajoki, RBs
Jasmin Lindqvist, WRs
Joachim Salo, DL
Aleksi Astor, LBs

The Team
The first player to be mentioned is the multi talented Merita Bruun. As a gifted athlete she has represented Finland in world championships in three different sports: football, ice hockey and floorball. Her athletic skills are well known around football in Europe as very quick and agile quarterback/ running back. She has also played football several years and her knowledge will help younger players through this tough tournament.

Tea Törmänen will again play linebacker for national team. Her “never give up” – style and experience from USA Football will help Finnish linebacker group to solidify the defense.

The anchor of the line play is Merle Ziemann. Experienced athlete with great poise has through times proved to be reliable member and a leader for whole team.

On receiving corps we haves Sari Kuosmanen who has lot of experience in football and has a background in basketball. She is also very much involved in football on other levels as she is a member of board in Finnish Football Association.

Elina Seppälä adds versatility to finnish team. She will play on both sides of ball and is going to handle the kicking duties as well. And all finnish football fans have had a chance to follow Elina´s preparation for championships, as she has been an active blogger for her training endeavors.

WWC 2013
Surely this year’s games will be of high quality as women´s tackle football has gained interest and attracted better athletes to the game.

Even though facing tougher challenge Finnish national team is going into championships with positive feeling and with the intention to match or even exceed previous result. That will be tough task as Canada, USA and Germany will surely bring quality teams to Finland. Not to underestimate Sweden, whom we all know is making big strides in developing football. And Spain, who will come to Finland as a newcomer and without any pressure and ready to surprise rest of world.

It is guaranteed though, that all the fans who come to see the games will witness good quality football played with great effort and positive attitude.

Being a forecaster, the pressure to be the favorite to win it all, is on USA. After USA it is impossible to predict other medal teams.

However, biggest expectation for the championship is to show the world that women´s football is here to stay and grow. And at same time also show and teach the spectators how wonderful game football is and how this tough collision sport can be played with positive attitude towards the game and opponent, even on the highest international level of competition
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