For those of you that don't know, I am currently living in Valkeakoski, Finland. Now to brief you all on this city (village); there are currently about 20,000 people living here, but I swear it feels like there is 2,000 people. There's a handful of restaurants, two grocery stores (that I am aware of), and a massive paper mill factory, which also happens to be in my backyard. This has been a HUGE change from my abode last year- New Jersey/New York, which has a multi-million person population, any type of restaurant you could possibly think of, and tons of places to go and explore. Despite the vast difference between the two cities, day by day I have learned to appreciate Valkeakoski.
Why Finland? Well, at the end of last season, I decided that I would give playing in Europe a run. In February, I packed my bags and was off to Sweden to make my dreams a reality. After two months of trials and empty promises, I had an opportunity to make the jump across the Baltic Sea to FC Haka in Valkeakoski,
Finland who play in the Ykkönen division (second tier of Finland).
Playing soccer or football as I constantly get reminded of by teammates has given me the chance to travel the world, meet people from everywhere, and experience different cultures that I would never be able to in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. Often times I get asked when I'll stop playing and go get a "real job", but the truth is that I love living my dream of playing soccer as my day job and the thrill of traveling is just an added bonus. Guys out of contract always reach out wanting to get themselves into the "perfect situation", but in a reality that is impossible. I always tell them what my inner conscious tells me; "don't be afraid to try a new experience."
Until next time,