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FIN-IWIllinois Wesleyan takes on the Finland national team in a monumental game in Helsinki on Sunday, June 2A total of 64 players have traveled to Scandinavia as the Illinois Wesleyan football team faces the hosts under the leadership of Toumas Heikkinen at 8am Central Time on Sunday  Click here to follow live stats of the game

The IWU spring slogan has been “Suunnitelma alkaa tästä”, which translates in Finnish to “The Plan Starts Here.”  After playing the game and spending four days in Helsinki, the team will take an overnight ferry to spend four days in Stockholm, Sweden, before returning June 9Each Illinois Wesleyan player is responsible for paying their travel expenses.

“Like every year, our expectations for 2013 are high and it starts with this game,” said IWU head coach Norm Eash.  “We got an extra 10 practices this spring and get to play a game. We’ve been able to evaluate personnel as coaches and are developing great chemistry, which will continue with the trip to the foreign country as a group.”

The Finnish national squad features players aged 19-38 from some of that nation’s top teams.

This is IWU’s fifth trip overseas. Previous stops were to Hamburg, Germany (1996); Bergamo, Italy (2001); Paris (2005); and Vienna, Austria (2009). In three of those four seasons following the trip, IWU either shared or won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title outright.

The Titans finished 6-4 last season.

NOT PLAYING: Senior quarterback Rob Gallik, who completed a school-record 68 percent of his passes in 2012, still has not been cleared by doctors after surgery to repair a torn ACL suffered in the seventh game. Neither has junior middle linebacker Connor Klein from shoulder surgery. He was last season’s Defensive MVP … Offensive linemanThomas Pearson had shoulder surgery May 1 and is out … Senior linebacker Mike Heaton suffered a knee injury during a scrimmage last week and also won’t play.