Sunday, October 28, 2012

Matchday 33: Relegated

Well, that didn’t go the way I thought it would.
That about says it all, doesn't it?

Before our last game of the season I ran through a handful of possible outcomes.  I looked at ways we could stay up, ways we could be relegated and even a specific situation where we’d be in a tie with Jaro in the final standings.  I also thought a lot about the last game against VPS, but I never considered the fact that we’d be playing on a frozen field.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad:  I spent all week thinking and in the end everything I thought was wrong.


One thing I got right though was the result of our match.  We beat VPS, 1-0.  It was a hard fought game with a lot of emotion.  Obviously we wanted to win the game so our emotions were high.  Surprisingly though, VPS also played with a lot of emotion.  Too much really, as their right back got sent off in the first half for elbowing Piri and breaking his nose.  Another surprise was the strong team that VPS fielded.  I had suspected/hoped that they would play a 2nd choice team, but as far as I could tell they played at least most of their regular players.  Every player that I knew started the game, so they definitely weren’t in the mood to either do us any favors or to screw over their rivals Jaro.


As for the game itself, there’s not much to say.  We won 1-0 and maybe could have had a few more.  I could have had a few assists in the first half if not for some misfortune.  The most blatant case of this was when I played Obi clear in on the keeper.  His first touch took him around the stranded goalie, but before he could tap into the open net with his 2nd touch, he fell on the ice and couldn’t even get a shot off.  It is what it is though, and fortunately it didn’t cost us.


As a bit of a side note of our game I have to mention the incredible fan support we received.  The number is estimated at almost 400 people who made the four hour bus ride to Vaasa and cheered us to victory.  I’ll not soon forget looking at those fans and seeing them legitimately go wild after we scored.  It was like the scenes you see on tv every weekend around the big European leagues.  I know it was “only” a few hundred people, but it felt like all of Valkeakoski was behind us.  VPS didn’t have hardly any chances, and honestly I can’t imagine that we could have lost that game with the support that the fans showed us.  Unfortunately, winning alone wasn’t enough.  Jaro shockingly beat TPS in Turku and stayed one point ahead of us and in the league.


It’s easy after getting relegated to think about all the things that could have gone differently.  I’m sure every single fan has had those thoughts, and I know every player and coach has.  We only finished last by one point.  I mean so many tiny things going differently would have kept us safe:  I had a header saved in the last few minutes against MIFK.  We tied Jaro at home after they got a red card with 20 minutes to go.  We lost in the last second against FC Inter after missing multiple chances to win the game.  We gave up a lead at KuPS with three minutes left.  The list could go on and on.  But we can’t think like that.  We have to think about our time going forward.  This isn’t the first time Haka has been relegated, and it says a lot about the club that both of the previous times they went right back up.  I’m very confident that the third time will be no different.




On a personal note, I am leaving Finland tomorrow.  I'll be leaving Europe on Nov. 14.


For those who care to know, over the next few weeks I will be in London, multiple cities in Morocco, London again and then Helsinki before I return to America for the winter.  I have no idea where I’ll be playing next year and I haven’t had any contact yet with Haka about returning.  All of that will be sorted soon enough though, and that’s why players have agents!  I’m very confident in the people who represent me and I’m sure they will help me decide what’s best.  But those conversations won’t happen for many weeks or months.  In the meantime I’m just worried about staying in shape and recharging my batteries after many months away from my family and old friends.  I can’t wait to return to America and spend a few months visiting them.  It will be good to put this past year behind me.


The meme:

outside my apartment




  1. Hopefully you will be still continuing in Finnish football next year too. Haka should be announcing it's head coach for the next season in couple of weeks and perhaps then there will be more news from that direction...

    Wouldn't be too surprised if league outfits would come calling too and clubs such as TPS, IFK Mariehamn, MyPa, VPS, KuPS and RoPS would surely fit your style of play well should there be any interested sides.

    Some good clubs in Ykkönen (2-tier) too: SJK are already a league standard club without a place in the league yet and Ilves could fill the void left in by Tampere United. OPS is also a good club although rather personal one with bizarre management.

    The weather in late February is also nice when snow and cold temperature mix in with plenty of sunshine so don't miss that...

  2. Thanks Vuuh, I hope I can continue here as well. I don't know what my situation is at the moment as I've tried to avoid it until after my vacation, but as soon as I know something I'll post it on the blog so you guys and gals can follow it! Contract talks are some of the most stressful/interesting parts of being a soccer player so it only makes sense that I talk about it here!