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AMERICAN FOOTBALL

Fuengirola Potros make statement of intent with signing of Henri Väänänen

Henri Väänänen in action for the Helsinki Roosters.
Henri Väänänen in action for the Helsinki Roosters. / SUR
  • The Finn is the first international signing in the club's history and comes with good pedigree, having represented his country

The Fuengirola Potros have pulled off a major coup by signing 26-year-old Finnish quarterback Henri Väänänen.

A simple internet search proves his credentials: he is an international player with Finland, one of the European powerhouses in American football; he is 26 years old; has a tremendous physique and a long record of success (Finnish champion for the last four seasons).

Initially, at this modest club on the Costa del Sol, they were surprised by a player of this level showing interest in joining.

"We contacted him by videoconference and he explained to us that his great motivation is to spread American football across Europe, that he was attracted by our project and that he wanted to come and play in Spain with us," explained Nacho Ponce, head coach of Potros, the only Andalusian team in the A series, the elite of American football in Spain.

The Costa club has to perform a delicate balancing act every season to manage its finances so they were aware that they couldn't offer Väänänen a salary or a job, as other Spanish teams can.

"He's not going to be paid anything, we will try to help him find a flat and he will collaborate with us in other facets of the club, but we cannot give him a salary," says the coach.

For the Finnish player, who is a personal trainer by profession, this is no obstacle and he will move to Fuengirola to become the first international signing in the history of the club.