Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tulos: Things you may have missed

Some family friends of ours were visiting from Finland this week, the topic of social media popped up. They work for a online sports channel focusing on extreme sports, EpicTV, and were more than happy to talk about their experience. Essentially, Kirsti and Panu said that I should be looking to focus more on Facebook. Twitter is excellent for instant and current news, but hardly a place to catch up at your leisure. As such, I post and link to several stories which may be missed unless you're on at the time.

So I've decided to summarise the stories of interest with one blog post, I think the term is 'ICYMI'. Anyway, here's what has happened in the last couple of weeks. Future blogs will be shorter, covering perhaps a fortnight at most - the below covers most the year so far. Feedback, as always, is welcome!

Cricket scores in the Helsinki futsal third division...

Finland U21s reached the final of the Commonwealth Cup in Russia, losing 2-1 to South Africa. Their semi-final win over Turkmenistan saw two moments of bravado from the Finns. Moshtagh Yaghoubi and Dani Hatakka were involved, well worth remembering.


Finland played two internationals in Abu Dhabi - they defeated Sweden 1-0 and drew 0-0 with Yemen. The sides were mostly made up of Nordic based players, but outstanding performers in the Sweden game were Lukas Hradecky and Petteri Forsell, with a debut international goal for Roope Riski.

Former Chelsea youth player Nortei Nortey had a trial with Jaro, but failed to earn a contract.

The 2015 Liigacup began, wins for Ilves and Inter and a draw between IFK Mariehamn and HIFK. Make a note of the fixtures and results here.

The farce/saga over Veikkausliiga places rumbles on, as MYPA were denied a licence to play in the top division in 2015, Ilves promoted in their place. They have since applied to play in Ykkönen but have also appealed the decision. At the time of writing, this is still to be decided. KTP meanwhile took Honka's place - Honka will now play in Kakkonen going under the name of FC Esport Honka.

In the annual FIFPro tournament in Norway, Finland's team of free agents lost both of their matches on penalties against Ireland and Norway. Player of the tournament was former RoPS striker Aleksandr Kokko, who spoke about his desire to play abroad.

Finland defender Markus Halsti signed for MLS club DC United. He played in this season's Champions League for Malmö.

Despite several media reports of tedious speculation, Niklas Moisander confirmed that he would remain at the club until the end of the season, where he is likely to move to a Serie A club, possibly Lazio or Roma.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Introducing Atletico Malmi

In December, I was looking at ways to do things slightly differently - there is a lot more to Finnish football than the national team and Veikkausliiga. Like in England, a lot of the clubs lower down the ladder run on small amounts of money, contributed by locals and operated by fans, volunteers and ambitious coaches. I decided to focus some of the attention onto a couple of teams, one from the Helsinki area and another from my wife's home region of Savo. I've made approaches and the clubs are willing - hopefully we'll give some extra support to these sides, get a few more people through the doors and following on social media.

So I'd like to introduce the first partner club for 2015, Atletico Malmi based in North-Eastern Helsinki. Their team manager Janne Vottonen has sent through some details of the club.

We started from the Seventh division back 2002 and were actually the worst team of whole Finland that year. Now our first team is playing already in 3rd Division/Kolmonen (the fourth tier) and is one of the favourites to get a promotion as far as you ask me. So there's been happening quite a lot during these 13 years and even before that when MPS/Atletico was founded in 1993 as a junior team for boys born in 1986. Lot's of good stories and nice-to-know-facts about the team and what we think about football. I myself started as Atletico-player in 1998 and became a "general manager" in 2006 with my colleague V-P Liimatainen. We are still running both teams and we play mainly in our second team, Atletico Akatemia (5th division/Vitonen). All of the players in both of the teams are about the same age as we are, mainly 24-28 years old and some of those have a background in other higher level teams but the spirit and the athmosphere we have is tempting for many of those who decide they're not good enough to make money by playing.

So that's an introduction to Atletico. I'll be visiting them in June 2015, hopefully the fixtures will be confirmed soon. In the meantime, we would all really appreciate if you could pop along over the course of the year if you're in the area. The club have Facebook and Twitter pages to follow, while there will be regular updates on ETS.

Janne has told me that the club will be looking to produce some merchandise at some point in the Spring - wouldn't your five-a-side teammates be curious to know who this exotic team is that you're supporting? Or your company could invest in shirt sponsorship - we all know a Finnish football jersey doesn't look right without at least ten different logos...

Atletico's first big game of the year will take place on Sunday 15th February at 1830 local time in the second round of the Suomen Cup against the winner of HIFK/3 and HIFK/4...