Tuukka Pöyry, you are currently the head coach of Soittorasia’s 2.division team. Could you tell us a bit about your background in Soittorasia?
In total I played 168 games totaling 204 points in Soittorasia jersey between the years 2001-2011. Most of the seasons, I played in the first team as a defender or attacking at the right wing. I really enjoyed playing with excellent and highly motivated guys, both outside and inside the field. Soittorasia was probably also the biggest reason why it took so long for me to graduate but it was worth every extra year. I enjoyed every practice and game we had.
What was your best memory during these years?
One of the most memorable seasons was 2008-2009 when we completed the series with a ten game winning streak which rewarded us to compete from a place to first division. It was successful season on a personal level too as I got the chance to play with very skilled guys leading me to score a record in points 31+18 = 49 in 19 games which is something that still awaits to be beaten. Hopefully this will happen during this season.
The reason you moved abroad?
The main reason why I ended up leaving Soittorasia in 2009 after a very good season was that, I got a nice opportunity to do my Master’s thesis in Switzerland Geneva at CERN. At first I thought I would not play floorball at all but…well let’s say that plan was not well executed. Before I even got to Geneva I had my playing rights moved to a local club, UHC Geneve, which played at the 3rd highest division, if I recall right.
Okay. What about your first impression playing floorball there?
People at the club were very nice, friendly and welcomed me to the club with open arms. We had a team of pretty young players from different nationality. We even got national team goalkeepers of France and Belgium. Unfortunately it did not take long to realize that the skill level was not very high, e.g. compared to Soittorasia. However, I felt that there was a real motivation to be better but the team lacked knowledge how to train to get better, and coaching was not a task I was really willing to contribute on as my focus was on doing my thesis. Also, at first I had trouble understanding the language. We practiced two times a week and it really felt frustrating when we spend 30 to 45 minutes from our efficient practice time on playing indoor football when most of our players could not even pass or shoot floorball – which was a sport we actually tried to compete in. I was there to play floorball, not football. No wonder we really did not shine at the matches.
So the season was not too succesful?
I recall we did not win too many games in a season but I surely remember the first one. The coach of the opposite ended breaking a glass from the sport hall’s door when feeling a bit frustrated as in contrast to our caretaker who started to cry out of joy – a very strange day indeed. After loss after loss, I started to feel like playing was a total waste of my time and efforts and I did not really enjoy playing as I did in Soittorasia. I started to think about other options where to play. I soon realized that there are no better clubs nearby and it was really a time to think about my motivation to continue playing. To put more focus on my work and completing the thesis, I started playing only the home games, but eventually dropped out of them as well. Unfortunately there was also an accident behind this decision as I sprained my back quite badly which ended up being almost a half a year process to get it back in order. Beside of my injury, I think the final “breaking point” was one of our home game where I ended up playing almost the whole match without touching the ball at all – and I actually played every other shift. The game was played 99% in our half of the game and each time our defenders or goalkeeper managed to get the ball they ended up delivering it to the other team’s defenders, and the vicious circle started again.
How would you summarize your experience?
Even though the experience of playing floorball was not a very successful one, I did manage to get good friends from the team and got to see how the training and playing culture differs from Finland. As the years have gone by, the experience feels now much nicer than it was back then. Geneva is a wonderful and friendly city with beautiful scenery around it, and I will definitely visit it again – probably not with a floorball club though.