Player news: Akseli Olin heads to Dacia Vienna Vikings

Akseli Olin has a mountain to climb in this spring, when he continues his studies in Vienna. He also joins one of the top American football clubs in Europe. Although Olin was selected to the Maple League All Star team after last season, talented defensive back has a tough task ahead when trying to earn a spot in Vienna’s playing roster. Dacia Vienna Vikings head coach Chris Calaycay welcomes Akseli Olin to Vienna and promises him equal chances with other around 90 hard working players in his team.

– We are always excited to have new member join our team.  He expressed interest to study in Vienna and continue his football career and I told him I would love to have him and see what he could bring to our program.  I only know Akseli from your (our) former LB Dustin Illetschko.  For what Dustin has told me is that he is a young and talented player that has great skills for his size.   We will see when he arrives and joins the team in March, but Akseli is a full, active, paying member of the Vikings and will be coached to the best of our abilities. He seems like a young man that takes his football very seriously and sounds very excited to have a new football experience and see what Austrian and Viking football is like.  I look forward to working with him and see what kind of football player he develops into.

Akseli Olin changed from soccer to American football in 2010 when he joined Vantaan TAFT. After eventful and colorful Maple League season 2015 Olin changed from blue to red jersey, being part of Roosters’ tight-knit defensive back field and part time kicker. Helsinki Roosters head coach Juha Hakala is glad seeing interception hungry Olin seizing an opportunity to challenge himself in top level.

– It’s great to see that talented player like Akseli is going to have a shot to play with top team like Vienna Dacia Vikings. He will get very good coaching there and I hope this will further develop him as player. It will be interesting for us to also play against him in the upcoming Charity Bowl game in Vienna end of April. I wish all the best with his journey to Vienna and can’t wait to get him also back in Roosters roster after his studies over there are finished.

Here are some quick answers from Akseli Olin:

How did you end up signing with Dacia Vienna Vikings?

I was going to be in Vienna for the spring and summer of 2018 because of my Master’s studies in the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. I originally contacted the Vikings myself and asked about a possibility of playing. My friend Dustin Illetschko (Maple League All-star LB, Roosters 2015) was the one who made the first introductions and things started rolling fairly quickly after that.

What made you decide to go abroad and what are your thoughts about leaving?

Since I joined the Roosters in 2015 I have declined all offers from other teams in Europe, even in GFL and AFL. I have loved playing for the Roosters and my studies and work have made it an easy to choice not to play elsewhere – yet.

– One of my goals for a few years now has been to play in the best leagues in Europe, and now when the opportunity rose to combine both studies and playing abroad, I decided to take it. The team has been very supportive in my choice and I have agreed to play the remainder of the Maple League season with the Roosters after coming back.

What are your expectations for the coming season and what athletic goals have you given for yourself?

I expect the Vikings to be a very professional organization with a desire to improve all the time. They won the championship last year – I believe it is everyone’s goal to hold on to that title and I look to help the team wherever I can. The Swarco Raiders are the #1 rival of the Vikings and playing them should be a great game to experience, too.

– My personal goals are first to make the starting roster and then continue playing at a high level for the whole season. All-star selection last year in the Maple League felt very good as personal recognition, and should I be able to repeat that in the AFL, I would be extremely satisfied. However, I recognize that the level of defensive backs in the country is very high: the former Viking Benjamin Bubik (Maple League All-star DB, Roosters 2015) is a perfect example of that.

– My number one goal for the season, however, is in the Charity Bowl game against my beloved Helsinki Roosters (29.4. in Vienna). I aim to intercept my friend Brandon Connette in the game as I have done so very many times in practice. I wish many Roosters fans will travel to the game to visit the city and enjoy one of the best international games available in Europe this year!

The season of Dacia Vienna Vikings starts March 17th and the Charity Bowl between Vienna and Helsinki Roosters is played April 29th. Season ending Austrian Bowl XXXIV will be played July 21st. Akseli Olin leaves in March and comes back to Finland and Roosters after Austrian season. Helsinki Roosters wishes him all the success in the Austrian championship league.

We anxiously await to meet you on the field in April 29th!

Text: Pekka Lylyharju
Photo:  Jarmo Vehkomäki