DLAXN: Hi Roope, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your lacrosse career? What do you do and why does lacrosse mean so much to you?
Roope Jokela: Just a normal sports loving kid from Turku, Finland. In my civilian life I live with my girlfriend and work in the metal industry.
I started playing lacrosse almost 15 years ago when my uncle Matti Tähkäpää introduced this game to me. At that time I still played hockey too but pretty fast lacrosse got my whole attention. I just fell in love with the game. Best parts must be the friends who I met during my career and tournaments around the world.
DLAXN: You played for Langley Thunder in British Columbia. How did it come about and what was the experience like for you?
Roope Jokela: After WILC 2015 in Syracuse me and my teammate Markus Mattila decided to try to go play for the box season in Canada. First we had couple contacts from Senior B from Vancouver. Then our coach Neil Doddridge tells us about the opportunity to tryout for Langley Thunder Senior A team and we cannot miss that opportunity.
That summer was awesome experience both on and off the field. Season was hard for our young team and we end up losing most of the games. The game itself in WLA is really fast paced and tough and it really took some time to get used to it. By my own standards my personal season was not the greatest either. But at the end of the day it was really helpful season for my game.
DLAXN: What does your training week look like? What have you done in the past to reach such a high lacrosse level?
Roope Jokela: Usually 1 team practice, 4 gym practices and 1-2 padel games with friends. It is really hard to get the field times here in winter. At summer when we are having practice outdoors we usually have 2-3 team practices a week.
When we were younger we spend all summers playing lacrosse and just having fun with our sticks. I think that plays big role on that.
DLAXN: What are the most important skills a lacrosse player should have in your opinion?
Roope Jokela: I think just understanding the game and having at least a decent skills with the stick can take you pretty far.
DLAXN: At the World Indoor Championships 2019 you convinced with Finland and you were able to reach the 6th place. In the squad were 5 players who are not based in Finland. What do you think about this?
Roope Jokela: Good question! Although we had only four players who are not based in Finland. I dont know the right answer but I surely have bigger respect for the countries who play mostly with their homegrown talent.
DLAXN:What do you think about the discrepancy between box- and field lacrosse? What do you prefer to play and do you see it in the long run as a problem that there is not one identical lacrosse variant for everyone?
Roope Jokela: I dont think it is a huge problem. In my opinion the bigger problem are the different rules between the leagues. The NLL, WLA and European box lacrosse all use different set of rules. I do prefer box over field.
DLAXN: How do you see the current development of lacrosse in Finland?
Roope Jokela: Not the best to be fair. The current national team is on a good level but the national league and junior program is not where it should be. I hope we can change that in the near future.
DLAXN: How do you perceive the development of lacrosse in Germany as an outsider?
Roope Jokela: I think the program is one of the best in Europe. In my opinion our national teams are pretty even but your league and junior program is way ahead of our.
DLAXN: How do you see your future in lacrosse?
Roope Jokela: My biggest personal goal in lacrosse is to win a european championship. Lets say I want to be European Champion by the end of 2023.
DLAXN: Do you follow the NLL? Do you have a favorite team?
Roope Jokela: Yes I do. If I had to pick one team it must be the Philadelphia Wings because our national team coach Tracey Kelusky is the current an Assistant Coach of the Wings. Furthermore, my teammate Joakim Miller used to play for them.
DLAXN: What do you think about trashtalk?
Roope Jokela: I think it can add some intensity to the game. So I’m not against it.
DLAXN: What would you tell young lacrosse players to become successful in lacrosse?
Roope Jokela: Just have a stick in your hand as much as possible and have fun with the game.
Posted by DLAXN