Offensive line player Mikko Toiminen has signed to play for Murcia Cobras in southeast Spain. After starting to play American football at age 13 in Roosters juniors, he has been raising Maple League Championship trophy since season 2013, and was big part of Maple Bowl MVP offensive line in 2014. Mikko Toiminen have also competed in sumo wrestling being second in under 23 years Open Class in last year’s European championship games.
Last year Murcia Cobras played their first Season in Spanish Champonship league and advanced to play offs. Head coach Alejandro Sotomayor has been looking some enforcement to his team to advance little longer this season.
– We have been looking this autumn for some players that can complement our roster in those positions that we are weakest, especially, the offensive line. Maple League is a very interesting league for us, because our calendars are fully compatible, and Helsinki Roosters are a guarantee of competitiveness and a successful program. This will be our first year with a Finnish player in the team, but we hope that some more can be encouraged to come and play in southern Spain, where we enjoy a sunny winter with temperatures that reach twenty degrees centigrade at noon.
– Mikko is a young player with international experience, playing from lower categories in a team that always aspires at the highest sport level. That is partly what we liked about him, and we believe that he can fit in with our team philosophy, also with a very high percentage of players trained from a very young age in our discipline and with a great track record in the junior category, Sotomayor pin points the strengths of Mikko Toiminen.
– The Finnish guys are big and physical players, who can develop a good level in our league. We always expect and demand a lot from our offensive line, because we understand that they are the stone on which to build a balanced game between run and pass. We have seen many players during the selection process, and it has not been an easy decision, but we understand that the intensity Mikko shows until the end of the play is the kind of reinforcement we want to add to our locker room.
Havier Sotomayor believes Mikko Toiminen will be a good fit for the team and welcomes him with open arms.
– One of the most difficult parts of hiring is having to wait to meet the guy who will work with you that season, but fortunately that time is ending and we wait for Mikko with open arms.
Helsinki Roosters head coach Juha Hakala has been coaching Mikko Toiminen for many years and is excited about Mikko’s going abroad to challenge his limits.
– In spite of his young age Mikko has lot of playing experience. Mikko is a guy that is always ice cold during games and does his job. It’s great to see that Mikko gets a shot to play as import player, this will serve as a good boost and change-up to his career. I wish him all the best with his new adventure in Murcia, Spain.
Here are some quick answers from Mikko Toiminen:
How did you end up signing with Murcia Cobras?
– In October I put messages through europlayers.com to over 20 teams throughout Europe about possibilities to play abroad. Murcia Cobras answered quickly and it didn’t take long to find the same tune.
What made you decide to go abroad?
– I have now played ten years continuously in Finland for Roosters since my junior years, so now it’s time to do something different. And Spain interested because there is always warm for a Finnish bloke.
What are your expectations for the coming season and what athletic goals have you given for yourself?
– Off course the aim is to win the Spanish league. My personal goals are to develop as a human being and a player, and stay healthy to possibly play in Finland after Spanish season.
The season in Spain begins in mid January and ends in May. Helsinki Roosters wishes Mikko Toiminen all the success in the Spanish championship league.
Show them what you are made of!
Read Murcia Cobras article from here!
Text: Pekka Lylyharju
Photos: Salla Lahti, Jarmo Vehkomäki