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Tuomas Heikkinen continues as the head coach of the men’s flag football national team.

Experienced Tuomas Heikkinen continues as the head coach of the men’s flag football national team. The team’s main goal is to succeed in the 2024 IFAFA Flag Football World Championships in Lahti, but before that there will be European Championship games in Ireland.

Tuomas Heikkinen took over the men’s flag football national team in the summer of 2021 with the aim of competing in the World Championships in Jerusalem, Israel. The Finnish flag football program had been on hiatus for several years, but Heikkinen managed to put together a team for the Jerusalem Games that won two out of seven games and raised Finland’s IFAF ranking to 18th place. The team, made up mostly of active American football players, improved with each game and eventually gave the team that made it to the World Games in Birmingham, Germany, a run for their money in a tight game (Finland-Germany 25-27).

The sport is finding its own identity Head coach Heikkinen has been following flag football’s development for over 30 years and is pleased with what he sees happening in the sport.

-It’s nice to see after more than 30 years that the sport is finding its own identity and seeking a big status through the Olympic project.

-The men’s team has set its sights on the 2024 World Championships. In 2023, we will play in European  Championships with the teams that can be put together. The team for the European Championships in August will be built from the available players at that time. Of course, ongoing American football seasons will have an impact on this.

-The early training events are open, and we are looking for new athletes interested in flag football. I expect interest in the sport to grow significantly in the coming years.

-The core group of the national team has maintained its playing skills independently after the World Championships in Israel. It has mainly consisted of American football offensive players, whose toolkit fits ”flag” football quite well.

Head coach Heikkinen says that Miro Kadmiry is a key player in building the men’s team. Other familiar faces from the American football community are also expected to join:

-The national team will undoubtedly consist mainly of available American football players this year as well. However, I still hope that we can get in particularly long athletic team sport players with a different background.

-This is a pretty unique opportunity for a ready-made athlete to join a fast-paced sport that is taking off in a big way.

-Information about training sessions will be provided on SAJL’s channels. I hope we can get new enthusiastic players on board for the journey towards the 2024 World Championships.


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