Defensive tackle Jani Lindqvist is returning to Kuopio to play with the Steelers in the 2018 season. Lindqvist last played for the Steelers during the 2016 season, during which he had the most sacks of any division one player and was elected defender of the year. He also played for the national team in 2016 and 2017. Not only does Lindqvist have the size necessary to be an effective defensive tackle, but he’s also very agile and athletic, which together make him a very valuable player to have on the defensive line.
According to Coach Utriainen, Lindqvist expressed sincere excitement about coming back to his hometown to play for the Steelers. When asked about his return, he said, “I’m feeling great. Steelers are my hometown team. I want to play at the highest level I can, which is why I signed with the Huskies last season. Now that the Steelers are playing in the Maple League, it was easy to sign here.” An already successful player, Lindqvist’s motivation to play for Kuopio will only make him stronger, and he is excited to prove himself in his hometown, saying, “My next season goals are to win the Maple Bowl and be the best D-Line player.” We are very excited to see him accomplish those goals!
In addition to a talented defensive tackle, the Kuopio Steelers have also signed offensive tackle, Tapio Jääskeläinen. Standing 187 cm tall and weighing 127 kilograms, Jääskeläinen is more than capable of protecting his QB. For many years, Jääskeläinen was a very sought after lineman, but, eventually, he found his ultimate motivation in Kuopio. Because of the connection he developed with Kuopio and the Steelers organization, Jääskeläinen slowly but surely put down roots in Kuopio. At first he only traveled to Kuopio. Then, he lived here for part of the year. Now, he has decided to move here entirely, meaning he will be able to attend every Steelers practice, thereby ensuring his connection with the Steelers and his motivation to play will only become stronger.
Although both players have plenty of experience already, they also have room to grow. Lindqvist was a late entry to football and Jääskeläinen still has room to grow physically. In other words, we expect nothing but great things from these players in the future. Lindqvist and Jääskeläinen have already had successful football careers, but as Coach Utriainen said, “Both have their best games ahead still,” and we can’t wait to watch them!