Katri Liimatainen, who is responsible for hobby activities at FC Raahe, did not have any idea of what the future would hold when her son told her that he wanted to start to play football ten years ago. The thought about the sport felt quite distant back then.
“I went to the football field just to cheer on. Once I began to understand what was happening on the field, football slowly drew me fully in.
The same story is familiar in many families that are involved in football. The sport quickly becomes a shared hobby and a way of life for the whole family.
“There are many ways in which one can participate in football as a hobby. In addition to playing, there are many types of voluntary work that one can do. Even young people can be referees,” Liimatainen says.
FutisNuokkari promotes a sporty lifestyle
The popularity of football has been growing in the Raahe region for a long time. More than 600 players with licenses make FC Raahe the largest team sport club in the town, and one of the largest clubs in Northern Finland. The cornerstones of the growth include active work with young people and voluntary work.
Starting from the autumn of 2021, it will be even easier to start with football. The FutisNuokkari activities planned by Raahe FC, largely by Liimatainen, will assemble people aged 10–18 who are interested in football in Raahe, as well as in Pyhäjoki, Vihanti and Ruukki.
According to Liimatainen, there are many good reasons to start football as a hobby.
“Football is a sport of good spirit where the culture does not approve of any bad behavior or excesses. A team sport is also excellent at creating a team spirit.”
In addition to developing football skills, FutisNuokkari seeks to improve the fitness of young people, encourage a sporty lifestyle and offer a pleasant time together.
“Football is a sport of good spirit where the culture does not approve of any bad behavior or excesses.”
“FutisNuokkari is not about exercising with gritted teeth; instead, everyone has the chance to develop at their own pace. We also invest in mental coaching and social skills. In addition to football, we also try out other sports,” Liimatainen says.
FutisNuokkari is made possible by aid granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture to the club for the project. The activities are also supported financially by Fennovoima and the participating municipalities.
According to Liimatainen, the support and cooperation with various parties have enabled better planning, as well as the extension of the activities to the surrounding municipalities. FC Raahe is also offering the PerheFutis activities to smaller children and their parents.
Promoting the integration of young people with an immigrant background
Liimatainen is responsible for managing the FutisNuokkari club. She has studied coaching, including mental coaching.
“FutisNuokkari will have succeeded in its aim if we can make young people enthusiastic about sport and exercise. I work for ensuring that everyone feels themselves welcome and equal at the training sessions exactly as they are.”
FutisNuokkari also aims to contribute to the integration of immigrants, bringing young people with different backgrounds together in the context of a shared hobby. FC Raahe’s regional series teams also include several players with an immigrant background. According to Liimatainen, learning the Finnish language is also easier when training football.
“Since football is universal, having limited language skills is not a great obstacle. A football is always round, no matter where we are in the world.”
- A football club established in 1993.
- In addition to the representative teams for men and women, there are 14 regional series teams for boys and girls, as well as 7 age groups in the junior league for boys and girls.
- The goal is to create an environment that will develop the cooperation and social skills of children, young people and adults alike.
- The FutisNuokkari club organized by FC Raahe is open to all young people and does not require any earlier experience of football.
- The PerheFutis activities are offered to smaller children and their parents.
Support for the activities
- Fennovoima supports sports, culture, and charitable projects in Pyhäjoki and its surrounding region.
- The financial support focuses on children and young people.
- In 2021, there are a total of 67 sponsored projects and associations.
- A total of 90 sponsorship applications were received. All the applicants were tasked with lowering the threshold for starting a new hobby.