Taaleri and the professional football club HJK signed a three-year agreement in 2016 for financial support to HJK Akatemia.
HJK Akatemia’s mission is to be the best route for young players invested in football to realise their dreams. High-quality work with young people starting from an early enough age significantly improves their opportunity to make it through the domestic leagues and on to the tougher European leagues.
HJK Akatemia is the first professional effort in Finland to build a path to European fields. In 2017 Taaleri’s sponsorship team won the Finnish championship in the B17 boys category, and HJK B17 won the very tough level international (U17) Festival d’Armor tournament held in Plougonvelin, France, on 3-5 June.
Otto Ollikainen, Valtteri Olsbo, Tuomas Pöyhönen, Maximus Tainio, Julius Tauriainen and Seth Saarinen were the HJK players representing the Finnish national team in the U17 age category during the season. Santeri Väänänen played on the U16 national team. At the end of the season, many of the team players moved up to the Klubi 04 team playing in HJK Ykkönen. During the season, HJK’s n Seth Saarinen (b. 2001) signed a two-year agreement with FC Zürich playing in Switzerland’s main league, and Maximus Tainio (b. 2001) transferred with a two-year Akatemia agreement to Tottenham Hotspur FC. Additionally, Otto Ollikainen (b. 2001) signed a 2-year agreement with HJK’s league team in September. From a Finnish perspective, these are exceptionally fine results, and it has been a pleasure to be involved in making them happen.