The kitchen utensils clatter in the background of the call every now and then. Also in Kairise the move is underway before the turn of the year.
– I came here for a day trip in the direction of Oslo, he tells Urheilu.
The midfielder of the Finnish men’s national football team, who moved abroad for the first time at the age of 16, gets a new hometown. Kairinen signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the big Czech club Sparta Prague, a couple of days before his 24th birthday.
The value of the transfer was reported to be a good 1.5 million euros.
– This is a bigger step for me compared to previous ones in my career. I still feel that I am ready for whatever comes my way, Kairinen says decisively.
Words are easy to believe. Kairinen has traveled a tortuous journey to the top.
The man from Turku, considered a Finnish super-promise as a teenager, was promoted in 2015, for example of The Guardian (you will switch to another service) in the story among the 50 best young European footballers. The story about Kairise was expected to be legendary Andrea Pirlon meet the middle infield quarterback.
However, the journey to the top was not easy. Kairinen had to search for her joy in playing for several years, through an eating disorder and depression that weighed on her. Now the joy of playing has been found, which can also be seen on the grass.
A difficult start to a professional career
The promising Kairise was expected to be a Finnish star midfielder as a junior. Kairinen, who joined the Veikkausliiga team of his parent club Turku FC Inter at the age of 14, debuted in the league at the age of 15. His exceptionally good understanding of the game and smooth ball handling attracted big clubs.
Kairinen was tested by Tottenham, Aston Villa and Juventus, among others. He also negotiated a contract with the last one. In the end, the Finn moved to Denmark and FC Midtjylland, known as a good breeding club, in 2016.
The expected move did not bring the desired result. Kairinen was unable to break into the national team and the first seasons were spent in the club’s youth and reserve teams. At the same time, problems began to appear as the new environment tested the young man.
The club’s morning routine included measuring weight and fat percentage. Kairinen started to control her eating more closely.
Cutting back on sugar, fats and later carbohydrates took the energy out of playing.
Kairinne developed an eating disorder.
– I don’t remember those times terribly badly. As everyone surely knows, there are good times in life and sometimes a little harder. I had a pretty hard time then, Kairinen now thinks about her years in Denmark.
He kept difficult things inside, which also led to depression.
Talking about difficulties even to loved ones took time. In the summer of 2019, Kairinen dared to tell Helsingin Sanomat about her difficult times in an interview (you move to another service).
Things started to get better when Kairinen returned to Inter on loan for the summer of 2018. In Turku, the young footballer began to find balance in his life as an athlete with his family. Eating returned to normal for good in the summer of 2019 when he was playing on loan at HJK.
– I must say that I am proud of myself that in the end I never completely gave up on everything. I kept pressing on, even though I took a couple of steps back. However, it was all worth it, he describes.
The direction changed through risk
Kairinen herself raises the 2020 season as the most turning point in her career.
Kairinen went on loan again in February 2020, this time to Norway and to Lillestrøm SK, which plays in the Oslo metropolitan area. At the time, Kanariafuglar (Canaries) played in the country’s second league level.
– In its own way, it was a risk to go there at a time when the club was playing lower in the league. The series rise was not a given, Kairinen reflects.
However, the increase came in the same year. At the same time, Kairinen established his place in Lillestrøm’s midfield with his steady moves and stayed with the club.
– The fact that I managed to secure a place in the opening game carried over to the following season when we played in the main league. That diva season was revolutionary for me.
Kairinen played 77 league matches in Lillestrøm, scoring a total of six goals and providing 12 goal assists. He rose to the national team ring while playing in Norway. The series developed Kairis, but especially brought him the playing time and responsible role he was missing.
– When you get to play week after week, it increases self-confidence, he enthuses.
A familiar coach brought to Prague
As Kairinen herself states, the difficult Midtjylland period was worth everything in the end.
Coached in the club Brian Priske has been the head coach of Sparta Prague since last July. The head coach, known to Kairine, played a big role in the Finn’s transfer.
– He called me a few weeks before the transfer and asked about my situation. He told me openly that he would like me on his team, he opens.
Although Kairinen had never been to Prague before his transfer, he was familiar with the new club. The most successful club in the Czech Republic is large even by European standards.
However, nine years have already passed since the last championship of the big club, with Viktoria Plzen and local arch-nemesis Slavia Praha taking the last years.
– Of course, it is also interesting that Slavia is now second in the top three, right in front of us. It is also clear that they have to be defeated, says Kairinen.
There is enough competition for Kairinne even within the team for the so-called weaving place.
The captain who played in the center of the midfield in Priske’s preferred 3–4–3 formation Ladislav Krejci Jr. has suffered injuries. The one who located him David Pavelka is strong in defense, but Sparta’s supporters have been looking for a player who is skilled with the ball and offers good assists on the field.
– The competition is guaranteed to be tough and securing a place in the game will certainly be the biggest battle for me. However, I am ready for everything that comes my way, says Kairinen.
Biggest dreams within reach
Kairinen’s biggest football-related dream is to play in the Champions League.
– Like many other football players, hearing its signature music on the field has also been my dream, he describes.
However, it will not be easy for the Czech Republic to enter the competition either, as Sparta last played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2005–06 season.
Kairinen’s road from the super promise to this moment has been long, different from many promises. What does he himself think about it now?
– I’ve pretty much tried to focus only on my own journey. It has helped me at least so far.
There have also been doubts about his ability to finally become a top soccer player along the way.
– I don’t have any greetings for anyone who has doubted me. Maybe it belongs more to the sport and everyone is entitled to their opinions. I am now in a happy situation and I hope that there are still many steps ahead of me, he states.