I have been able to live many years abroad, away from my homeland. How it all started, my mother certainly has the best memory of it, because when I moved it was quite young yet. I lived nearly six years in Germany and now is going to my second year in France. There have been a lot of experience along my way. Thus, the following memories are mainly from my mother.
The decision to move to Germany as a family with our 13- and 14-year-old girls was not an easy one. Katriina is a younger of the girls. Although at FC Nürnberg in Germany everything related to football was well organized on behalf of the club, or anyhow my mom got a lot of new friend to help her during that time. It took a lot of work from our parents to make the equation of housing, girls’ school and our working patterns work. I do remember that we had “the girls’ own strong will” to leave was crucial.
Originally, the girls ended up in football through experimenting with and practicing many different sports. My parents had the spark to try different sports both themselves and together with the kids. We moved quite a lot, the play and the sport went side by side. In addition to football, the girls dabbled in ringette, ballet and fine arts school.
Katriina’s team career started in Espoo in club named “Leppävaaran Pallo”. I found my own place as a goalkeeper – actually making sand cakes! From the beginning, the parents were actively involved in our team. My father acted as a guardian, and my mom Anne participated in various activities and was otherwise helpful. A few years later, it was time to push to the next stage. We set out to find a more competitive and goal-oriented team for the children at their own wish. I wanted to develop more and a suitable place was found in the Football Club “FC Honka” Academy, my sister and I got to practice, develop and play the sport we love with all our hearts. Our team made tournament trips in Finland and also abroad in Sweden and Germany.
Their team’s tournament trip to Germany in June 2014 revolutionized the family’s daily lives for years to come. A discussion on the sidelines with representatives from FC Nürnberg was followed by a successful test week for both girls under the eyes of the club’s coaches and a big decision affecting the whole family. The club offered the sisters a place on their junior team.
After successful test week in 2014 for my sister and me under the eyes of the 1. FC Nürnberg Club’s coaches and a big decision affecting the whole family on that year. The move to Germany required a lot of preparation. However, we girls were very determined and we did not hesitate at all to play in Germany! We both had a strong desire to try and a desire to show that they want to take their football skills to a new level. In hindsight, there was a surprising amount of work involved in arranging things, which required self-examination and time. When the level of demand for both sports and school was kept high, there was little free time left. The new everyday life was busy for both of us, but not in a grueling way. The feeling I got the license to play in WU17 Bundesliga – I still do remember the FEELING was really GOOOD! After all, football is a common language, you don’t need language skills to understand it. In the beginning, English was also used with the coach and the fact that was that we had been reading German for several years in Finland.
A year after moving to Germany, my sister Pauliina and Katriina reached another stage in our careers when we were invited to play for FC Bayern Munich – I still do remember the FEELING was really GOOOD 😊 The sports career now continued at a more demanding and rewarding level. For the following years, everyday life revolved around training and studying in high school. In addition to our own work, the parents’ task was to take care of the whole and balanced everyday life of us “the young athletes”. However, unlike in Finland, in a top German team, a football mother does not have to fry mocha pieces or act as a team leader. Parents have “no responsibility” other than to watch games and drive as needed.
It was an extremely rewarding and interesting period for me to live in Munich, Germany. My kind greeting to all my friends & fans there! Hopefully, my example could encourage other families to support their children to enjoy sport as well. Then it was time to move on. First, my sister Pauliina moved to the United States. A year later in 2019, I moved on to continue my career in Lyon, France. I’m very happy and satisfied right now to live my dream in Lyon and to be a part of the “OL Family”, the Olympique Lyonnais Feminin Team in France.