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The Finnish professional footballers association (JPY) is one of four participants in the fourth FIFPro Winter Tournament, which will be held on January 9th 2014 in the Vallhall Arena in Oslo, Norway. ‘We have a very strong team’, says Tero Koskela, JPY Vice President.

Seven Finnish international players are registered for Team JPY: Peter Enckelman (12 caps, photo), Pekka Lagerblom (12 caps), Sami Rähmönen (6 caps), Erfan Zeneli (6 caps), Mika Ojala (6 caps), Joni Aho (3 caps) and Petteri Forsell (1 cap).

Enckelman is a 36-year old goalkeeper who played 14 years in England and Scotland for Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City, St Johnstone and Hearts. In June 2013 he returned to Finland, signing a short contract at IFK Mariehamn.

Lagerblom is another player with vast experience of playing abroad, as the 31-year old midfielder played 8 years in Germany for Werder Bremen, FC Nürnberg, FC Köln and Alemannia Aachen, among others. In the 2013 season he also played at IFK Mariehamn.

That’s not all. Team JPY includes four more footballers who during the 2013 season played in the Finnish premier league, the Veikkausliga: Niko Kukka (FC MyPa), Roope Riski (TPS Turku), Patrick Byskata (IFK Mariehamn) and Antti Hynynen (KuPS).

Former Finland U-21 manager Mika Laurikainen will act as a coach of the Finnish team.

‘I'm very happy to be part of the team and it looks like we are having a very good squad’, says Roope Riski, a 22-year old forward. ‘I also know the coach very well.’ Riski played 45 matches for Finnish national youth teams.

‘I think it's going to be a great tournament and I'm very pleased to play with players like that. I'm sure that this helps me in finding a team for the next season’.

The Finnish union organises a training camp in Helsinki and will schedule a friendly match before travelling to Oslo. ‘There is always a possibility that one or more players of our team are signed before the FIFPro Winter Tournament begins, but that is no problem’, says JPY Vice President Tero Koskela. ‘This team, the training camp and the tournament are there with one aim: help the players get a contract’.

‘With our participation in the FIFPro Winter Tournament we offer an open and international window for all the players in our team. All the players who have participated for our teams in previous tournaments have managed to sign a contract after the event and before the season started’.

Match schedule:

  • 10.30 hrs Ireland-Finland
  • 12.00 hrs Norway-Sweden
  • 14.30 hrs Third place match
  • 16.00 hrs Final

Since 2005, FIFPro organizes FIFPro Tournaments to help footballers without a contract find a new professional club. FIFPro invites clubs, scouts and technical directors to see the participating players in action. It is up to the players to show their best in an effort to find a new professional football club. There are four international tournaments: Winter Tournament (Northern Europe), Torneo America (South America), Central Europe and Europe.