top of page

Will the Wasa Royals Reign Supreme in the Maple League?

The 2024 season kicks off next week, and the Wasa Royals look like an early preseason playoff contender. Their 6-6 regular season record in 2023 was good enough to get them a playoff berth, but the Royals expect to be more consistent in 2024. With only a few major changes to the roster, are the Wasa Royals primed to make a Maple Bowl appearance?


Bow to the Crown?

The Wasa Royals are one of the youngest teams in Finland, with this being their 11th season of competition. Despite their organizational youth, the Royals have won 4 league titles. Unfortunately, none of those titles have been won in the Maple League.


The Royals entered the Maple League in 2016, making the playoffs in their inaugural season. Since then, the Vaasa team has made five playoff appearances, and 1 trip to the Maple Bowl.. In 2021, the Royals had their worst Maple league season to date, leading to their relegation to Division 1. The Royals won the Division championship in dominant fashion, and returned to the Maple League in 2023. Their return to the Maple League was a season full of adversity, but the Vaasa team was able to finish with a 6-6 record and playoff appearance.


The Wasa Royals head into the 2024 season with confidence they can compete with the top teams in the Maple League. However, football games are won on the field through performance, not confidence. If the Royals performance matches their confidence, they could be hoisting the Maple Bowl trophy at the end of the season.


Run it Back

The Wasa Royals have re-signed most of their imports from last year. The team has also returned a large majority of its domestic talent from last season. With Alpha Jalloh & DeMarco Artis leading the team focused on rectifying last season's inconsistency, the Wasa Royals expect to be a top tier team in the Maple League this year.


Touchdowns & Highlight Plays

Alpha "Juice" Jalloh is the player to watch for the Wasa Royals. With the ability to line up at all skill positions on offense, Jalloh will be the x-factor for the Royals. Alpha Jalloh has elite speed, agility, change of direction, and a very high football IQ. As long as Jalloh is on the field, the Royals have a chance to score on every possession against anyone in the league.


The Royals will have a bonafide winner at signal caller in Theo Landers (LG OLED Black Demons). Landers is now a 2-time Spanish League champion, and has experience playing all over Europe in countries including England, Germany, and Spain. Landers is a true dual-threat quarterback who has great decision making abilities, and will be an instant leader for the Royals team.


Tom Suoste will handle the rushing duties for the Royals. Suoste has been a reliable part of the Royals offense for years, and will continue that tradition this season. The bowling ball type runner is not easy to tackle, and is deceptively elusive as well.


Alpha Jalloh is expected to be the #1 receiver for the Royals, but he will not be the only receiving target for Theo Landers. The Wasa Royals will rely on a group of young receivers to step up and make plays this season. A few names to look out for are Ami Lindfors, Joonatan Purtola, Kelvin Godwin, and Roni Viinamäki


The Royals offensive line has a lot of depth. Import lineman Shelton Williams (Acadia University) will be the anchor of the unit, but as a group the unit will be able to provide running lanes and pass protection every week. A few names like Väinö Nybacka, Eemeli Tirkkonen, and Joni Kujala are worth keeping an eye out for. 


Protecting the Kingdom

The Wasa Royals defense will be a deciding factor in lots of games for the team this season. Up front, the Royals possess the best defensive lineman in the league in DeMarco Artis. Artis is one of the most talented defensive players in Europe, and is planning to prove that true this season. He is expected to play some linebacker as well, but his strength for the Royals defense is as an unblockable player in the trenches. Accompanying Artis will be Arkady Naus, who was an effective player for the Royals before injuries slowed him last season. Combined with veteran Mattias Kaas, the Royals defensive line will be one of the more formidable units in the Maple League this season.


The linebacker group will be the strength of the Royals defense. Lamin Latikka is the leader of the group, and has developed himself into one of the top linebackers in the country. The ability to fight in the trenches with offensive lineman as well as cover wide receivers makes Latikka irreplaceable in the Royals defensive scheme. His partner in crime is the young prospect Raul Khalifa. Khalifa is a ball hawk with incredible sideline to sideline speed. See ball get ball would be the perfect description of Khalifa’s play. The youngster has a knack for getting around the ball and making big plays. 


The Royals have also added Prince Lollar (Texas A&M Commerce) to the linebacker room this season. The import has limited stats in college, but brings speed, athleticism, and a high football IQ to the Vaasa defense.


Viktor Mänty will lead the Royals secondary once again this season. Mänty has been utilized as a safety/ outside linebacker in previous seasons with the Royals, and is expected to reprise that rover type of role. The rest of the Royals secondary will be played by relatively inexperienced young players from Vaasa. Joonatan Purtola and Alpha Jalloh both are capable of splitting time on defense to help the secondary unit. The inexperience of the group will cause some growing pains throughout the season.


Perfect Pervis Analysis

The Wasa Royals are a playoff caliber team. That does not mean the team will actually make the playoffs, as the club has a history of being very inconsistent throughout a full season. At their best, this team has all the necessary parts to play in the 2024 Maple Bowl. The combination of Theo Landers and Alpha Jalloh will ensure this team scores points, and DeMarco Artis will be the catalyst for a formidable defensive unit. The secondary unit is the only cause for concern, and could be the difference between a playoff appearance compared to a Maple Bowl appearance. 




Commentaires


bottom of page