From 501 to Finland: Peters to take talents overseas

by Mark Oliver

In fourth grade, Seth Peters was just another kid from Greenbrier with big dreams of playing football on a big stage. Years later, after successful high school and college careers in Faulkner County, Peters is ready to take the world by storm for the football opportunity of a lifetime.

In January, Peters signed to play professional football for the Kuopio Steelers of Finland. As the team’s projected starting quarterback, he’ll have an opportunity to make an immediate impact on the professional level. For Peters, his decision was all about experience.

“One of the most important things to me about playing overseas is having a good experience and having people who really care about making me feel as comfortable as possible in a new environment,” Peters said. “I had several people contact me with offers to play all over Europe — Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland. Ultimately, it was Coach Utriainen of the Steelers who made me feel the most comfortable. He’s a genuinely nice guy who made me feel like he and the coaching staff really cared about me. Through my contract with the Steelers, my girlfriend, Marie, will also be able to work at a Finnish kindergarten, helping children learn English.”

Hendrix revived its football program in 2013, following a 53-year hiatus. Since its revival, Peters has served as the team’s only quarterback. For such a young program, Peters says his signing is significant for his college.

“For Hendrix, it’s a huge deal,” Peters said. “It gives the spotlight to Hendrix and to the football program and the coaches who had obviously brought in a great group of guys. They chose the right kind of people with great attitudes and positive mindsets — guys they knew would work hard and try to build a program that would last beyond them. My class and I have been here since the program came back. We’ve laid the groundwork. The coaches have a lot to be proud of for that. It’s a huge honor for Hendrix, and I’m glad to be able to represent them.”

In his final season with the Warriors, Peters led the nation with a 74 percent completion rate, second in efficiency and fifth in total offensive yards. The senior passed for 3,013 yards and 26 touchdowns and also ran for 315 yards and three touchdowns, earning an All-Southern Athletic Association First Team honor and a All-South Region Third team selection.

Peters graduates from Hendrix College on Saturday, May 13. Days later, the 501 native will find himself on an airplane to Europe with new adventure on his mind.

“It’s going to be an incredible time,” Peters said. “Being a small-town Arkansas kid, it really opens your eyes to what’s out there. Experiencing a culture that isn’t yours and interacting with a new world is something I’m thankful and excited for. I’ve been to Europe on vacation before, but never anything like this. Football may be my ticket there, but being able to meet new people, learn new cultures and ways of life and broaden my perspective are extremely important to me and will ultimately make me a better person. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.”

Peters recently competed in the fifth Dream Bowl in Virginia, an all-star game comprised of the top football talent in the country. As quarterback for the Crusaders, Peters led his team to a 38-30 win over the Patriots, securing the offensive MVP honor.

“Playing in the Dream Bowl was a lot of fun, and I met a bunch of great people,” Peters said. “The offensive MVP was a really cool award to receive, but it’s not a one-person award. There has to be blockers, catchers and runners for me to do what I did out there. It was a team effort, and it accented our win as a team.”

Though Peters will soon be playing football on foreign soil, the quarterback has a special message to the next 501 youth with big dreams of playing professional ball.

“Being a small-town kid, you think the world is against you and you don’t have the advantages as other kids in bigger cities or states have, but it’s simply not true,” Peters said. “Just keep working hard. It’s not as farfetched as you might think. I come from small-town Greenbrier, went to a Division III college 15 minutes away and now I’m going to play professional football. I’ve learned that anything is possible if you work hard toward achieving a goal and keep your eyes open. Don’t let where you’re from or where you go to school keep you from accomplishing what you dream to do.”