Although Mika Lönnström is not the first Uefa Pro licensed coach from Finland to coach outside our nation’s borders, he is the first one to do so in Thailand. And sad to say there are not many that have gone to coach in other places either. Well, there is Martti Kuusela and couple of others. And those who are furiously pointing at the direction of Oulu’s partner city Leverkusen, it is good to remember that Sami Hyypiä is still in school.
But things that do help in the search are personal qualities that anyone can develop and use for their own good. Being open minded, humble and courageous takes you already a long way. And Mika surely will go a long way.
In Finland the understanding of the game is relatively low among the general public. Members of the media all the way to the club staff and management suffer from the same disease. In this environment it seems that many leading coaches in Finland have been able to carve their own “truth” how the game should be played and developed in stone and thus leaving no room for discussion. Shouldn’t at least the people who recruit coaches know enough about the game to be able to challenge their decisions and thoughts?
For a young coach who wants to go forward in his career Finland might give a good base to learn the basics, but soon enough you need to get out of here and start asking questions.
Mika learned already long ago that he has to go abroad to learn the ropes. His trips and longer stays in USA, UK, Eastern and Central Europe have developed him as a coach tremendously and thus getting a coaching job outside Finland was a logical next step.
Mika will be crucial part of a project in Roi Et province in Eastern Thailand which aims to create a well-functioning youth system, a youth academy and to bring the latest best practices in football into use in this 1.6 million people region. The biggest club of the region, Roi Et United, is ready to invest into a full-scale academy set up with new artificial turf and professional training & living facilities for the young players.
How the project will go on and what will be the results we will see maybe in a year or two from now. For Mika the results are already quite obvious; he will be a better coach and many new doors will be open for him after this adventure.
Take good care Mika – This is just where your story begins!