Team you have to look up to
Almost every year at EUSA competitions you can notice a team that comes wearing suits. If you say that is University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, you will most probably be right. They are a team with some amazing traditions and a team that you could easily look up to.
One of the players, Antti Vanhala, explained why they always come wearing suits instead of their university T-shirts: ‘It’s a tradition that was started a few years ago by our predecessors, who are no longer students, but we kept it going’ Finnish footballers participated in their first European university competition in 2007, and they have maintained their unique image ever since.
That is not all that makes this team special. The atmosphere within the team is family-like, demonstrated by the ‘bonding dinner’ organized at each competition, where each player delivers a short speech about everything that is good and mentions what could be improved within the collective. A few verses are written for each player, and they could often be heard singing them at the stands during the competition.
‘Sometimes, we all met on the field and form two lines. Each player walks between the lines with his eyes closed and listens as the rest of the team listing all of his good qualities as a person and as a player. This is something we often do,’ Annti told us. ‘We plann to organize games close to the accomodation, and every day one room is assignment to record a short video; when the competition ends, we will merge all of them into a single video’
It is important to mention that the team is only partially backed by their university. For the rest, they have to be creative and entrepreneurial.
‘We receive just half of the participation fees from the University. We collect the rest by working at various events. Also, every year we make an annual calendar with our pictures, and this year we sold about 2000 copies,’ Antti said.
Even the players who participated at the previous years competition, but currently have no place in the team, come so they could all be together. The cost of lodging and food for them is also covered by the team.
Regardless of their result University of Jyväskylä can be a real role model to every University team.