Miettinen brings coaching experience from both sides of the world to Sky Blue FC
Miettinen Leads Sky Blue FC into Defense of WPS Title
Somerset, N.J. (Tuesday, September 29, 2009) – With plans fully underway for its second season of play, defending Women’s Professional Soccer champion Sky Blue FC announced today that the organization has hired former Finnish international Pauliina Miettinen as its new head coach. Miettinen, who has top-level coaching experience in both her native Finland and the United States, will assume the head coaching role for Sky Blue FC as the team embarks upon its mission of a successful title defense in 2010.
"I am excited to be involved with the Sky Blue FC family and the professional atmosphere of the team,” Miettinen commented about her hiring. “After I visited New Jersey and the Sky Blue FC organization, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a part of this family. I am looking forward to coaching these dynamic athletes, and to working hard to prepare for the 2010 season and ensure the success of this team in the world's most competitive women's soccer league."
As a player, Miettinen capped nine times for the Finnish National Team as a goalkeeper before heading to Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, where she converted to forward and was a three-year captain. She received All-America accolades on three occasions during her college career, compiling an NCAA record 309 points on 122 goals and 65 assists while leading the Ravens to three Division II National Championships. She also played seven seasons in the Finnish Premier League, where she helped HAK Helsinki to four national championships, four Finnish Cup championships and a UEFA Champions League semifinal.
After acquiring her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and Psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1999, Miettinen displayed her amazing versatility as a player by moving to defender and capped 17 more times for the Finnish National Team, becoming one of the only players in modern day soccer to play both on the field and in goal at the international level.
"I think it happened because of my love for soccer and sports,” Miettinen said of her improbable achievement. “It takes lots of time with a ball when you have to play different positions, and it takes a lot of determination. You have to see your dream, and believe in that dream, not just in the short term, but looking years ahead.”
While she knows that developing the player on the field is a critical component of coaching, Miettinen also focuses her efforts on developing the player off the field.
"Coaches have to believe in their players, and in their potential, and dig that potential out of them,” she remarked. “And to do that, you have to believe wholeheartedly in every one of your player’s talents. A coach cannot be defeated by a loss, but has to have the self-confidence to handle different challenges and adversities that every team will face."
Miettinen began her coaching career just over 10 years ago, and she has coached at virtually every level of the game. In her first season as assistant coach at Franklin Pierce College in 1999, she helped her alma mater to its fourth national championship in five years. The Finnish native then joined the coaching staff at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, in 2001, where she assisted the soccer program to three consecutive NSCAA Top 11 finishes. She then became an assistant to the staff at perennial power Florida State University in 2005 and helped the Seminoles to the NCAA College Cup Semifinals.
"The process of selecting a coach has been ongoing for the past two months,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone stated. “We decided our goal was to have a female coach since we are a female team in a female league. Pauliina is an experienced player at the highest level. Her successful versatility as a player is matched by her ability as a coach, having had success at both the American collegiate level and internationally in Finland. What's more, she is a great communicator with a dynamic personality, supplemented by her training in psychology."
Miettinen is the current head coach for PK-35 in Helsinki, Finland, which is currently tied for first place in the Finnish Premier League. Prior to taking over at PK-35, she spent two years at FC Kontu in Helsinki, advancing her club to the Finnish Premier League midway through her first season at the helm.
“I am excited to have Pauliina Miettinen as our new head coach,” said team captain Christie Rampone, who assumed the head coaching role for Sky Blue FC on its run to the WPS Championship presented by MedImmune this past season. “She is a wonderful person and comes highly recommended from many successful people in the women's game. Pauliina will bring a new style and flavor from her experiences as an elite player and coach in Finland, and I look forward to assisting her with knowledge of the league and our team. The Sky Blue FC players adjust well, and I know we will achieve success together.”
Sky Blue FC CEO Thomas Hofstetter shared similar excitement regarding the hiring of Miettinen.
"She definitely ‘gets it’ in terms of soccer,” Hofstetter confirmed. “She has soccer ingrained in her culture. As a European who grew up with the game, I'm particularly excited about that.”
For all of the latest developments regarding Miettinen and Sky Blue FC, stay tuned to the team website at www.SkyBlueFC.com.