American Football is now an international sport, being played in over 90 countries around the globe. In different countries, to help develop the sport and keep competition at a high level, American players are “imported” onto club teams in various capacities. These players get paid to play the game they love while seeing the world and experience different cultures. Kuopio Steelers (Finland) American import, Seth Peters, allowed me a detailed interview about his experience in Finland.
THE SETH PETERS FOOTBALL JOURNEY
My football journey has been one that’s taken me all over the states and now to Europe. Football has always been a huge part of my life and it continues to be. I started when I was 8 years old playing in a city league. Now I’m in Finland looking to contend for a championship. It’s been incredible, I have a lot to be thankful for. I was contacted by several teams in Europe and coach Pekka was the one who stood out to me. He was such a genuine guy with a great vision for the Steelers. We spoke for several months and I was convinced this was the team I wanted to be go to a championship with.
LIFE IN FINLAND
How do you like it in Finland?
Finland has been incredible. Summer cottages, saunas, great food. The country itself is beautiful and has a lot to offer. The people have been the highlight for me. Everyone has treated me with respect and kindness. I have made some lifelong friends here in Finland and I expect my relationships here to only get stronger.
What is your go to meal in Finland?
Definitely new potatoes and sausage!
Do you spend a lot of time with Finnish teammates or on your own/with other imports?
I’ve spent most of my time with all the guys on the team. I’d like to think I’ve made some very special relationships in the few months I’ve been here. Like I said, everyone here has been amazing.
What level would you compare the football played in Finland to in the United States?
I would say it varies. It’s hard to put a label on such a huge variance in talent. You’ll play against guys who can compete at some of the top schools in the US and you’ll also compete against some guys who are playing football for the first time in their life. It’s tough to say.
FOOTBALL IN FINLAND
What do you see as some of the biggest differences between football in the states compared to Europe/ Finland?
I think the biggest difference is the culture. Football isn’t king here, and it’s very obvious. Football is more of a hobby and less of a lifestyle like it is in the states. Everyone wants to win, it’s not like guys don’t care. It’s just a much different attitude towards the game as a whole.
How have you personally helped your teammates and coaches develop their American Football knowledge during your time abroad?
We have so much talent on the team and I’ve tried to take some of that raw talent and add some technique that I grew up learning. These guys are incredible athletes and sometimes all it takes is a few small details to take their game to the next level.
What are your plans after the season concludes?
It’s hard to tell at the moment. There are a lot of opportunities here in Finland for me and my girlfriend. I also would like to attend graduate school at home to earn my masters in statistics. Only time will tell what happens!