Midsummer is here!! Maple League action is on a small break, so I decided to catch up with a few of the stars of the league and ask some important questions. I have to put it on record that I believe the MVP of the Maple League will be the talented Seinäjoki quarterback Justin Sottilare. He was kind enough to answer my questions, so here is what Justin Sottilare of the Seinäjoki Crocodiles had to say.
How did Justin get to Finland?
After I graduated Wesley College I started teaching. One day I got a message on Facebook about playing Football in Europe so I figured I’d look into it. Ended up going to play for the Franken Knights in Germany. Next year I wanted to travel somewhere new and ended up signing with the Seinajoki Crocodiles, where I’m at now.
Perfect: How do you like it in Finland?
Sottilare: Finland is interesting. Winter was terrible, but the 24 sunlight during the summer is amazing! People are all friendly, everyone speaks English so I have no problems with communication. Seinajoki is more like home than Germany was.
Perfect: How do you like the Finnish People?
Sottilare: Finnish people are very friendly. I’ve been told that Finnish people are shy but there is an old lady who lives in my building that smiles and waves to me every time she sees me. This “shy” thing is just a rumor.
Perfect: What is your go to meal in Finland?
Sottilare: Go to meal in Finland would be my chili. Not very Finnish but it’s pretty healthy. All of my teammates know of my love for chili.
Perfect: What are your midsummer plans?
Sottilare: Mid Summer plans are just to relax. I spend a lot of time on film, practice, scouting, grading, and as Lane Stuht would say, Yoga. Time to just kick back and relax. One other option is to attempt to learn how to use the Force. I watched the new Star Wars movie today and I’m feeling inspired.
Perfect: What do you see as the end result for you guys(Crocodiles) this season?
Sottilare: I am hoping to end this season with a championship. As any other athlete would say, the season is a failure without that. I honestly believe that and am going to work as hard as I can to achieve it.
Perfect: Individually how do you feel about your performance so far?
Sottilare: I haven’t played very well. I had 1 good game. I have made improvements from last year though, which is a good start. Stats will say that I’ve played great, but if you watch the film and understand it, you’ll see a different story. I am not recognizing the defense as well as I could be. My throws aren’t as accurate as I’d like them to be. Like anything else in life, it’s a work in progress. I am confident that I will get better as the season goes on.
Sottilare: Biggest change that we need to make is in our understanding of the system. If everyone knows what we want to do, I feel as if we will win. Physical mistakes will happen (bad throws, dropped balls, fumbles), but we do have complete control over the amount of mental mistakes we will commit. Eliminate those mental mistakes by understanding your system. Something I stress to our players every day.
Perfect: Can you name the best 5 players in the Maple League?
Sottilare: Tough question. I say this because I am a true believer in systems. I think as long as a player knows their scheme and is coachable, they can be successful. Doesn’t necessarily have to do with talent. As a QB I’m obviously a huge fan of other QB’s and offensive players. I’m a big fan of Micah Brown and Cole Webb. Both of them have the ability to make players with their feet. Both consistent with their footwork and throwing motion. #4 (Chris Young) from Vaasa was very impressive and created a lot of problems in our first game against him. I am also a big fan of Roman Runner. He’s a very athletic guy who can play multiple positions. Very fluent movements. Turku had a great RB(Chris Douglas) as well. He was extremely athletic and very patient behind that OL. I didn’t include any of our players because I feel this is about showing respect to the guys I compete against, not with. But obviously, we’ve got some amazing talent on this team.
Perfect: So what’s next for you after the season?
Sottilare: Only time will tell. I do like it here in Seinajoki though