Football Football player Emmi Alanen, 30, talks about the most difficult moments of her life: “I had to put the game off”

Women’s national football team Emmi Alase, 30, could have become a top wrestler. After a serious injury, he made his choice of species. However, the injury was not the worst of the challenges. Alanen was exhausted due to performance pressures. Now he tells how he recovered and slowly rebuilt his identity.

How From Lappajärvi you can to become a football player?

That is a good question. There weren’t even any girls’ teams there.

In Lappajärvi, life moves forward with its own weight. The rural locality in southern Ostrobothnia has detached houses, green grasses, berry bushes and a splitting lake in between. There are less than three thousand inhabitants, which means that most people know each other. There is a safe and lots of opportunities to be, go and do.

As I stepped out the front door, I saw a green lawn and an athletics field across the road. Behind the field was a school center and a baseball field. The summer saw the sound of a lawn mower and the bumps of baseball in the evenings.

My interest in football woke up when I was my dad Vesa Alasen involved in football practice and game trips. I saw a lot of football. I was part of my dad’s team community, and it was really awesome. After training, I kicked the ball with my dad’s playmates. I also took part in the tournament trips of the Futsal team and got to play on the field during game breaks. My mother Marjo Alanen was my coach in baseball. ”

“We did lots of things as a family. An athletic lifestyle comes from there and so do the values ​​of life. Family is really important, working together, caring for and respecting other people.

I was ten years old when my brother, three years younger, was going to Evijärvi for football training. I wanted to get involved, and that’s where the play started.

I played with the boys until the age of 13–14 at the Evijärvi Athletes. I felt like I was one of them, even though I was the only girl on the team. There was nothing miraculous about it. The environment was safe and such that everyone was blowing into one coal.

The coach asked me if it would suit me if he would report me to the girls ’district team event. Somehow it was a surprise. On the district team, I was asked if I would like to play on the girls team in Kokkola. It was an hour’s drive there. My parents had to take me to Kokkola a couple of times a week. Without their support, I would not be in this situation. ”

Emmi Alanen did not start playing football on the team until she was 10 years old and played on the boys’ team until she was 14 years old.

“I enjoyed it also athletics, skiing in winter, wrestling and baseball, which I left when I was 14 years old. I practiced a lot.

There was something to do every day, and on some days I was first in football training, followed by wrestling training.

Wrestling was chosen for my sport because of my family. My father [kahdeksankertainen SM-mitalisti] was also a wrestling coach, and with him I ended up in the gym.

I remember the brightness of the wrestling hall in Lappajärvi. In the center of the hall was one large wrestling mat with throwing dolls. The wall had poles and a jaw pulling rod, and climbing ropes hung from the ceiling. There was sweat in the hall and there was stale air. Drinking water tasted like iron.

The workouts were hard. My hair was always so messed up that I couldn’t see anything. In the hall, everyone was allowed to be themselves. Boys, girls, young and old worked out together. Sometimes my muscles were so sore after a hard workout that I had trouble moving. Training was a constant challenge and winning.

The spirit of the wrestling hall was authenticity and respect. There, in a way, every man had to undress for everything extra and just struggle against a woman or a man against a man. It was raw because the outcome was always clear, with either winning. However, creativity had no limits. Wrestling was an ongoing solution to problems. When wrestling, one had to live all the time in an instant.

I feel that man is in the gym a natural self. No there is nothing extra. ”

I moved At the age of 16, he became a high school student in Vaasa. I had the opportunity to bet on both wrestling and football there. A couple of years later, I suffered my first major injury when my leg became a stress fracture. I was out of training for almost a year.

I only made my choice of sport when I was 19 years old. Probably also because I had a lot of success in wrestling [nuorten EM-hopeaa ja pronssia]. After the injury, I made my choice of species. During my rehabilitation, my longing for the football field was greater than my longing for the wrestling hall. I enjoy playing football so much.

I asked my parents what if I made the wrong choice of species. Their support and words helped. They said I could always switch back to another species if I felt I had made the wrong choice. I have never regretted my decision. ”

Jamie Finn of Ireland (left) tried to clear the ball from Emmi Alanen of Helmareiden (center). Emma Koivisto followed the situation in the Women’s World Cup qualifier in Helsinki-Finland on October 26 at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

Challenges has been.

The first of these was moving to Umeå, Sweden, to play in 2013. A few years ago, I was mentally and physically tired. It resulted in me having a lot of consecutive injuries.

At the beginning of 2017, difficult things piled up in such a way that my mental resources were no longer sufficient to handle them. There were a lot of privacy issues and people getting sick. When it came to neighbors, alongside such things, football was secondary.

There were many things that affected the whole. My body was in overdrive and recovery was not optimal. I didn’t get anything out of my workouts anymore. I didn’t have the energy to focus on things.

I had a desire to get back on the playing field all the time, but the cycle of injury only grew. I wonder if it is even possible for me to return to my absolute peak. There was no choice but to work for it. I had to recreate the foundation and the foundation. ”

“I started to think about my future and what will happen after my gaming career. It was also important to my identity that it wasn’t just based on myself as an athlete and football player Emm. There is also Emmi outside the field. In order to be able to play well the way I want to, I also need to be able to play well.

I started studying so I also had something else to play besides playing. I have always had the dream of working as a physical education teacher.

Probably most athletes think about adversity, what happens if they can’t play sports. One should be just as valuable outside of sports. Self-esteem should not be based solely on performance or its performance should not define a person and his or her worth.

Emmi Alanen was already a young player in the 2013 European Championships, but next summer she will be able to experience the European Championship hype again.

There is also another career after a sports career. If I can prepare myself for the future, the transition is not that heavy or long. It gives me a lot to be able to develop somewhere else. ”

“Fatigue does not happen in an instant. The load must be longer. Certainly one of the reasons for the fatigue was the pressures and expectations I set for myself. I’m a performer. I set high goals for myself and want to do my best in all things.

I managed everyday and mundane things, but it took more energy and I needed more time to recover. The support of my own parents was really important. I also received support from my environment. I had to put the game off.

I fluttered for a couple of months. A little quietly, I left lightly to increase my load. I didn’t lose much from the 2017 season.

Exhaustion takes time, and recovery takes time. It doesn’t happen with the click of a finger. You have to try where the boundaries go. Yes, that leaves traces of the body and the person. I would say it took a couple of years to recover in the end.

With age, I am able to see life from a broader perspective. I have learned a lot from my adversity and been given the tools to deal with it. I would no longer be in the same situation. Yes, I am really happy where I am today, both as a person and as a player. ”

Emmi Alanen (third left) in the training of the women’s national football team in Gothenburg. The head coach of the national team Anna Signeul walked next to him.

“Everyone after the setbacks, it was a really big deal for me when the national team secured their place in the European Championships.

I experienced pure joy then. I also felt the dignity and satisfaction of fulfilling the dream after hard work. It was amazing how that feeling could be shared with many people.

I am happy today that I am well and I am healthy and I have not had any injuries. I am still able to play my profession and enjoy my everyday life. Studying is alongside that and developing me as a person.

It’s a great honor for me to be in a big role on the national team. It makes you humble. There are so many good players on the national team, and I notice how the players are evolving all the time. I see that I have the opportunity to help and support younger players.

I still want to find my limit in football. If I can develop into as good a player as possible, then I will be best able to help my team, which can also lead to team success.

We have never played in the World Cup. That is our goal, and it is also my dream. ”

Sweden-Finland in Gothenburg on Thursday at 7.30 pm Finnish time. YLE TV2 will be showing from 7.15 pm.

Emmi Alanen

  • Born in April 1991

  • Midfielder of the Finnish national football team and Växjö DFF.

  • Previous clubs: Evijärven Athletes, Kokkola F10, KPV, FC Sport, FC United, HJK, Umeå IK, Vittsjö GIK.

  • As a wrestler, he won European silver and European bronze in the under-17s and PM silver in the under-20s.

  • 89 matches and 20 goals in the national football team.

  • Other: Father Vesa Alanen won eight Finnish Championship medals. Grandfather Veikko Alanen was the wrestler at the World Championships in Nelonen. Veiko’s brother Pekka Alanen represented Finland at the 1964 Tokyo and Mexico 1968 Olympics. He was Fifth at the 1966 European Championships. Emmi Alanen’s cousin Johannes Alanen won the World Hockey World Championship gold in 1998.

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