HE was one of Colin Healy’s late signings, however, Finland U21 international Jonas Hakkinen hopes to play a huge part in Cork City’s bid to return to the top tier of football next season.
The 21-year-old who hails from Vancouver has massive experience playing at a high level and the centre-half has settled in at the club and is looking forward to the beginning of the season.
“My time here in Cork to date has been great, with everyone so welcoming. It is my first time coming to Ireland and I am delighted to be in Cork and it seems like such a beautiful city and although I haven’t got to experience much of it yet, I already get a great vibe about the place.
“I have settled in great among the team and I am really looking forward to the beginning of the season.”
Sharing the same agent as Steven Beattie, the club was recommended to Hakkinen and although he was a late arrival, therefore he missed out on City’s four friendlies, he has been part of enough training sessions to see what the club is about.
It was great to have the Cork connection before I arrived as I share the same agent as Beattie and he was able to give me a great insight into the club, which immediately attracted me here.
"I arrived late into pre-season so unfortunately, I didn’t make any of the friendly games however I have been training hard and really looking forward to the start of the season.”
Although only 21, Hakkinen has gained massive experience throughout the years and he hopes that experience can help City in their bid for promotion.
“I grew up in Vancouver Canada, in the Vancouver Whitecaps academy since I was nine or 10-years-old. I left after my U19 year to go abroad to go and play in Finland, where my parents are from. My first year in Finland I was with a club called VPS and this past year is was with FC Haka.
“Also through the past two years, I’ve been involved with the U21 Finnish national team while we were playing in U21 Euro qualifiers. Over the years I have gained massive experience at the different levels and I hope I can bring my good form into this season with City.
“This is my first time in Ireland, everything and everyone so far has been very nice, definitely feel welcomed. I’m living with Dylan McGlade, Cian Murphy, Cian Bargary, and Ronan Hurley and all of the lads have been great in making me settle in.
“In my little time so far here I’ve had a very good impression of everyone at the club. Everyone has a clear vision of improving all the time and training has good intensity. There is great competition within the squad and this is really important as it drives everyone on and it can only benefit the team as a whole.
“Coming into this season, my expectations are quite high. I think everyone involved with the club wants promotion again and that’s one of the reasons why I was so excited about this opportunity. I have no doubt it will be a tough league campaign but it is one the team are prepared fully for the challenge ahead and I am delighted to be part of the squad.
“So far everything I’ve seen here is very professional. I would say one difference I’ve noticed between here and my past teams in Finland is the playing style.
I would say there is a faster tempo to the game which I would compare more to my experience playing in North America than to Finland.
“I think being home in Vancouver for the past few months before flying to Ireland was obviously really nice. I’ve been living away from my friends and family for the past two years and so it was nice to have some time with them.
“Playing football abroad is something that I love doing, even without seeing my friends and family as frequently. But even then I’m always chatting back and forth daily so it’s not a problem.
“Back in Vancouver, I spent probably around two months training with their U23 team just trying to stay as fit as possible before flying out here. And thankfully I think this has benefitted me hugely as I feel I am fit and ready and look forward to the season ahead.”