By Erika Nylund | HelsinkiWolverines.com
Finns may have felt weird and disoriented for a few weeks, as a significant force field has left the country, as Tytti Kuusinen travelled to play in the United States for this season.
Currently the Wolverines running back powerhouse is in Boston, where Tytti Blue will suit up in Renegades red and kick off her season on April 16 in a game against D.C. Divas in Washington D.C. The Boston Renegades play in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA Pro) in the United States and are a three-time consecutive champion.
Tytti has had her mind on playing American football in the USA for years. After the 2019 season, she started researching different teams and found that the Boston Renegades organization has a super positive, professional feeling to it. Although no one truly plays pro football as a woman for the time being, the team’s methods, vibes and professionalism were clearly an important theme when Tytti considered possibilities for her own development. Tytti also discussed Renegades with another Finnish football player: ”I also heard good things from Janna-Jemina Seiles; She previously played in Boston and is also here this season, so there are us two Finns here.”
The journey to football fields in the US has been far from easy and simple for Tytti, as in the 2020 season she already travelled to Boston only to come back almost instantly when coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe and the WFA season got completely cancelled. In 2021, the WFA played their season, but for Tytti, the trip was not possible at that time due to COVID-related uncertainities and e.g. Helsinki region-specific pandemic restrictions completely preventing the Wolverines women’s team from training. (The editor of this article would like to point out that due to the different twists and turns, this story was chosen not to be published earlier than mere hours before Tytti’s first game kick-off in order not to jinx !)
Hit the ground running!
At the time of the interview, Tytti is in Boston in an enthusiastic and surreal mood, after a long wait she is finally there, things seem to be working out and the first game kicks off soon. ”It’s been nice to see some familiar people from 2020 and get to practice – feeling very good!” says Tytti cheerfully. Tytti has settled in her rented room and in her day-to-day routines on another continent, and already joined first practices and tested the gym.
Tytti’s everyday import life in the USA will revolve around work and football – she works remotely to her employer in Finland and acts as an important video coach for the Wolverines women’s team this season, commenting on practice and game videos during the night when other Wolverines are asleep. On behalf of the team, we would like to thank Tytti and time zones as it is obviously nice to wake up to the fresh Hudl notifications in the morning!
Tytti’s weekly schedule appears to be busy, with the Renegades practices twice a week, topped with games, gym workouts, pregame speed-strength workouts, and the team’s remote meetings for watching film and update game strategy. Especially game day trips in the United States are certainly different from those in Finland as the travels take place in a plane instead of a bus or car, due to the US size and long distances. The season launches with a six-week game streak, with games every weekend, so the career as a Renegades RB gets an intense start.
Tytti’s American Dream?
The Wolverines’ central character and long-term captain has carried the football for many many yards during her career, in Crocodiles greens, Wolverines blue, Crusades (SWE) red and also in the Finnish national team colors. Tytti is known as an athlete who works hard and humbly, sets her goals high and performs to the maximum. So – what is Tytti after in the States and what does she expect the most?
”The sport’s homeland and WFA as the most prestigious women’s league in the US, I look forward to seeing what kind of teams and individuals I will play against and where I am at, at this level,” says Tytti, who looks forward to playing tough games and opponents with Renegades. Then Tytti points out that most of all she wants to challenge herself and develop as a football player, an athlete and also ”maybe a bit as a coach as well”.
According to Tytti, her goals for the upcoming season are to learn the Renegades’ playbook and play style, become a part of the team and be useful, and get as many minutes on the field as possible. Considering the entire season, Tytti notes that WFA will end in early parts of July – if Boston reaches its way to the finals – and after that she will return to Finland to play with the Wolverines. In addition, Tytti is also trying out for the Finnish national team for World Championships that will be held in Finland in July-August this year, ”Representing Finland at home for the World Championships would be great!”, she adds.