Graphic: Igor Lazarevic
After a lengthy vetting and interview process, the Finnish American Football Association, SAJL (Suomen Amerikkalaisen Jalkapallon Liitto), has selected Mele Mosqueda as the new head coach of Team Finland, the Finnish national team.
Mosqueda takes over from Tuomas Heikkinen who had been prowling the sidelines as Team Finland’s coach for 18 years. The Finnish national team is gearing up for the IFAF European Championship semifinals and final set to be played in August and October of 2021.
The president of Finnish American Football Association, Roope Noronen is pleased:
“A contract with Coach Mosqueda has now been made to cover this year’s European Championships. I am sure Mele will adapt well to the existing staff and will be able to help the team
prepare to win the European championship.”
Finland will face Team Sweden in early August in one semifinal while Team France will take on Italy in the other.
Despite his young age, the 32-year-old Mosqueda has already had an extensive coaching career in Europe. He had been picked as the offensive coordinator for the La Courneuve Flash in France before the 2021 season was canceled in that country due to the pandemic. He was set to coach with the Ravensburg Razorbacks of the German Football League in 2020 but that league was canceled. He had started the 2020 season as offensive coordinator and associate head coach for the Marseille Blue Stars, who had their season shortened due to the coronavirus. In their four games, the Blue Stars racked up 179 points and 1,618 yards of offense, second best in France.
Mosqueda spent the 2019 season as head coach of the Gdynia Seahawks in Poland’s Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego, guiding the Seahawks to the LFA semifinals where they were eliminated by the Wroclaw Panthers. Under him, the Seahawks had the second most prolific offense in Poland averaging almost 40 points a game.
In 2017, Mosqueda joined the staff of the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns working as wide receivers coach, special teams assistant and strength and conditioning coach. It was a monumental year as the team went on to win the German title that season, their first since 2012. In 2018, he signed with the Munich Cowboys serving as linebackers coach, special teams assistant and strength and conditioning coach. That season, the Cowboys qualified for the playoffs for the first time in four years. Throughout his time in Germany, he has also coached on the staff of the Bavarian Warriors youth teams in various capacities.
He started his coaching career in 2013 while playing for Germany’s Allgäu Comets. A serious knee injury ended his playing career and he was asked to step in as secondary coach the following season. He moved on to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in 2015 coaching running backs, defensive backs and special teams helping Kiel to a 9-3 record. Returning to the Comets in 2016, Mosqueda, he helped the team’s defense become the fifth best in the country.
“At this moment, words are not sufficient to explain how much of an honor and privilege this opportunity is. I am beyond thankful to the Finnish Federation and coaching staff for this appointment; most of all for their trust in me.”