A former Harlem High School star athlete has moved to Finland so he can play professional football.

It's called the new normal. Everything is different. One thing that has taken a big hit is sports. We hear a lot about the big four, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB along with the million-dollar player. There are also stories about students who are missing out. What about the in-between?

Here's a perfect example. Plus, there's a local tie-in

A.J. Wentland played for the Huskies and had a successful career in the NIC-10. He went on to play college ball at McKendree University. Then is was given the opportunity to play professionally in Europe, so he moved to Germany. Unfortunately, that season was cut short because of the pandemic. Luckily, he didn't have to head home just yet. A team in Finland recruited him and he headed to his new league.

According to rrstar.com,

"The German Football League 1 canceled its season on July 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of COVID-19, forcing Wentland to decide on whether to find another home to play in, or hold off and wait. He was in touch with representatives from the Finish-American football league known as The Maple League and quickly came to the realization that it was time to head to a different country."

I give him a lot of credit for making that move. It's hard enough to go away to a brand new strange place but add in a pandemic. That must have been a very difficult decision.

He's a hard-working person trying to do all he can to live out his dream.

My friend from high school played for NFL Europe and really enjoyed it. The fans over there love it. It later gave him the opportunity to play in the NFL. You just need commitment and sacrifices.

I was especially excited for him because I'm Finnish. My Dad was born there. We went to visit a few years ago. I have relatives there. Even though the country is more known for winter sports like hockey and skiing, I know they like football too. My cousin gets up in the middle of the night to watch NFL games on the internet. Plus, this is a great time of year to visit the Scandinavian country.

Good luck A.J.! I hope you have an excellent experience.


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