Player: Sakari Mattila
Teemu Pukki is one of the most recognizable names in Finnish football, mostly because of his knack for being in the right place at the right time.
FREDRIKSTAD FK & finland
One of the great privileges of working with athletes is the opportunity to help a person achieve their wildest dreams.
Every professional athlete has some kind of inherent ambition, whether it is to win the gold at the Olympics or simply just to reach your personal best. One of the things that we emphasize strongly in our work with our clients, is setting goals both for the short term and the long term – and then following up to check on the progress.
An example of this practice is the case of Sakari Mattila. Mattila came through HJK’s youth system as a promising midfielder, pedigree that earned him a move to Udinese as a 20-year old. Unfortunately, however, his spell at Udinese was a disappointing one, and he ended up spending large parts of three seasons on loan at Italian and Swiss minnows. As his contract was coming to its end, Mattila was at a crucial crossroads in his career and in need of guidance.
When Sakari signed with Boll, our short term objective was to get him playing big minutes at a decent level, so we decided on going back where it all started - HJK Helsinki. At this point, we also discussed his long term career objectives and Sakari told us about his dream of playing in England. Knowing this, we started building career scenarios that would lead to Sakari realizing his objective, and came to the conclusion that since it so rare for a player to go directly from the Veikkausliiga to a decent level of English football, we needed an intermediate move. At this point we started building Sakari’s portfolio – written reports and video clips – and contacting our sources in the other Nordic leagues.
Among others, the Norwegian club Aalesund expressed concrete interest, to the extent that they sent a delegation to watch Sakari play in Helsinki. Although slightly under the weather at the time, he managed to put in an impressive performance according to the Norwegian club. Together with Sakari, we thoroughly went through our options, acquainting ourselves with the interested clubs, looking at tactical fit, future projections and other necessary information. Aalesund was by far the most intriguing option, and so that was the club we decided on.
In Norway, Mattila played the best football of his career, establishing himself as a good overall midfielder with a handy knack for scoring goals. At this point, we were already looking for potential avenues to England, and when Fulham expressed their interest, we knew that we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at our hands. After having been on a downward slope, Sakari Mattila had fulfilled his lifelong ambition in just a couple of seasons.
Unfortunately, Fulham’s turbulent situation at the time meant that Mattila never really got the chance to properly show his worth for his new club. In the end he only played a part in a total of 9 games for Fulham, and was sold to Danish club Sönderjyske after one season in England. The experience, however, was enough to make the risk worth it. Mattila had set a long term goal and made regular progress towards that goal throughout. In the meantime he regained his place in the Finland National Team.
After Mattila’s long term career objective was completed, we have been busy planning his next steps together. After a recent injury lay-off he is ready to kick start his career in a new direction in the summer of 2018.