A farewell from coach Sami
A personal farewell written by 18/19 coach Sami Ilonen
It’s almost time for me to take off back to Finland and I’m looking back to think about my past 9 months here in Amsterdam. There’s been a lots of great and a lots of not so great stuff that has happened here, but nothing has been better experience than my time with the FB Agents.
Coming in to this team I had no idea what kind of whirlwind I was getting myself into. I gave a convincing sells pitch to FB Agents Board and they decided to take a flyer with me and try this thing out. I had lots of experience in floorball as a player and now I tried to spread this knowledge and skills to the organization.
First of all, the talent in this team really caught me off-guard. I had no idea that this team was already so skilled and the experiences this team had came from all around the Europe. So quickly my task was to find a common ground and try to get this team to the same page. I wasn’t the oldest player, I wasn’t the youngest, but I definitely wasn’t the loudest, so I wasn’t sure how well I was going to be received. Luckily these guys (and girls) are awesome people and eager to learn so I felt I was very welcome in the team.
I just want to thank everyone in the team for taking me in and following me into the battles. We fought hard, but unfortunately, we fell just a little short of the goals we all had in mind. I’m still proud what we achieved and I’m 100% sure you guys are ready to challenge for the title without me as well.
Here’s my last little word of advice to everyone on the team (in no order):
Tino: I thought I would be the Finnish star player on this team but damn was I wrong. I hope you take this team under your wing and you can lead this team all the way. You make playing this game fun and easy.
Jeroen: The Dutch superstar. You have the skills and will to take the future of this sport to the next level. I hope you continue your great work with the kids and make Netherlands the new power house of floorball.
Thomas: It’s a shame you have had to deal with injuries for the past few years. You really have the mind for this game and I hope you continue to study this game further on. I will rest easy if I know that this team will find leadership and guidance from you. Aside from that I really miss you on and off the field.
Joel: I hope you never lose the enthusiasm you have for the team and the sport. You were the rock we could always lean on. Sorry if we leaned on you too much :D
Tom: The other rock. It was really fun to see you grow as a goalie. I think you were one of the most improved players in the team. Keep learning and you can really take the next step.
Jasper: I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. What you did to make sure I got settled here was amazing. I will be forever grateful for that. On the field you are a key piece in the defense and your leadership is well needed. You work with the organization is nothing short of unbelievable. I hope you are as proud of your work as we all are.
Tobi: The motivator. Another great leader on and off the field. You are always full of ideas and your on-field presence gives the team a chance to win every time. Always looking out for what’s best for the players and the team.
Ulle: It is crazy what you have done for this sport here in Netherlands. You can see it wherever we go there’s always a handful of random people ready to come talk to you about anything. You are the past and the present of this sport and I’m sure your kids will be the Future.
Emil: I knew you were a hardworking, lead-by-example kind of guy but you still managed to surprise me in both finals. You were the MVP of our team in both games. I hope each one of us could’ve followed your example even better and maybe we’d have 2 trophies. (This is not an offence towards the rest of us it’s just shows how much Emil worked his ass off.)
Kerry: You got a lot of years under your belt, but you were still the most eager to learn new stuff. Even when I advised you to join the beginners training to get you stickhandling and ball skills back, you were there to put in the extra hours. It’s a shame your season ended the way it did, we sure could’ve used your presence :( But like I said, floorball always takes the backseat in life. Hope you can work your way back.
Merten: You have all the tools to be something great, if you want. Just trust yourself and keep doing what you can. Observe the more experienced players and learn from that.
Jurgen: The other nominee for the most improved player on the team. You went from an extra to a difference maker. I’m gonna tell you the same thing as above. Observe the more experienced players. Watch what Thomas or Tino does on the field and learn from that. You have the size and if you learn how to really use it for your advantage, you can really start to make a difference.
Johannes: I’m gonna miss your off-field presence the most. Your popular culture taste is on point! On the field, I guess you can now finally be the most productive defender on the team ;)
Joonas: The agitator and the enforcer. At first you were a bit reckless but when it mattered the most you were actually a rock-solid defender. Just trust yourself that you can do more with the ball as well and take it easy. You do have what it takes.
Marian: The team daddy. I hope you could’ve been more present at the start of the season, so I could’ve really known what you were capable of and I could’ve utilized you more. I’m really glad you are so versatile that you could step in when we needed you the most.
The other guys who were with us for the part of the season: Jonas, Daniel and others, thanks for everything. And last but not least Miko, you made it really easy for me to move in and deal with all the Dutch crap :D
To all the ladies of the team. Saskia, Emma, Liene and others, thank you for enduring me and my trainings. I’m sorry I didn’t make more effort to focus on your improvement, but I hope you also got something out of my trainings. I remember you asking for skill trainings and I wasn’t really sure how to involve that in our practices. But the other day I heard you talking about you practicing shooting in you room and how it’s a bit tight to do that at home. I encourage you to do stickhandling at home. Throw a shoe or something on the floor and start stickhandling around it. Learn how to do that, then learn how to look up and stickhandle. Then you can take it on to the big field with more room and you’ll be good :) Also look at what the more skilled players like Tino or Jeroen are doing during the exercises. When they are queuing for the exercises, they are not just standing there with the ball. They are always doing things with the ball. That’s how you learn skill…you just…do it.
That’s enough from me, I hope I didn’t miss anyone out and if I did, I’m sorry about that :D
If you ever find yourselves in Helsinki, hit me up and the first beer is on me. See you guys and good luck in the future and once again a big THANK YOU for everyone for making this the most amazing floorball season of my life!
All the best,