Fútboling in Finland: Hello again, Vantaa


PK-35 Vantaa sai viime keväänä riveihinsä vahvistuksen Yhdysvalloista, kun Ashley Riefner liittyi joukkueeseen sarjakauden alkumetreillä. Ashley sopeutui joukkueen ainoana ulkomaalaispelaajana Punamustien ryhmään mainiosti, nousi kauden edetessä tärkeään rooliin ja pääsi juhlimaan tuplamestaruutta heti ensimmäisellä kaudellaan Euroopassa.

Kolme viikkoa sitten Ashley palasi Suomeen aloittaakseen toisen kautensa PK-35 Vantaan riveissä. Ympäristö ja joukkue ovat tällä kertaa jo ennestään tuttuja, mutta ulkomailla pelaaminen on edelleen päivittäistä suurta seikkailua. Alkaneella kaudella hän jakaa kokemuksiaan myös muille kirjoittamalla arjestaan säännöllisesti blogia. Nyt on aika päästää ”Rief” ensimmäistä kertaa ääneen.


Hello again, Vantaa

[Rewind, about 45 minutes or so] Pictured is myself trying to compile a list of adventures, experiences, funny/awkward moments and a thousand other things that I figured would be worth telling. [Ok, now fast forward to the present] Pictured is myself still staring at my computer really having no idea what to write about. Instead, I am checking my phone, thinking about food, imagining what today’s practice will be filled with, pondering what my next meal will consist of, listening to country music and thinking about what snack I should have. So there it is, you have just witnessed what most of my day revolves around… food, soccer and more food. I’d like to think that most athletes, soccer players especially, could relate to this foodie mentality.  And if you don’t, you’re lying. So by now you’re probably thinking, “wow this girl is extremely lame and food obsessed.” Well, there is definitely some truth in that statement. Life of a soccer player doesn’t follow the most glamorous lifestyle. Who am I kidding, practice pretty much everyday (sometimes twice a day), bruises that you have no idea where they came from, sore legs and a not ok smell that is coming from anything that touches your soccer bag. While that list doesn’t seem pleasant I can’t imagine a life any other way. Because amid the aching legs and tired bodies it’s the moments in between that makes this lifestyle so worthwhile. In saying so, throughout this blog I will try to recall some of these moments that make life here in a Finland pretty dang sweet.

So for those of you that do not know who I am: My name is Ashley Riefner, I go by Rief, I am from the U.S. and this is my second season with PK-35. I arrived in Finland for the first time on May 2nd, 2016 nervous, anxious but mostly excited to play my first season abroad. I had such a great experience learning how to adapt to the unique playing style that PK is known for. Amongst other things, I made some good friends and our team won a couple of medals along the way. Safe to say I truly enjoyed my first season here, enough so that I decided to come back for another year. This time I arrived in Helsinki in January. The first thing I noticed when my plane touched down was all the snow, I quickly panicked thinking to myself, “omg this plane might actually skid down the runway with all this ice.” Thirty minutes later, safely off the plane, the brisk Finnish air touches my face and enters my lungs. No lie, I seriously do not think I have ever been in colder weather in my entire life. I am from a place that has really hot summers and decently cold winters, but nothing that compares to Helsinki in the wintertime. Just to put it a little more into perspective, growing up my school would get canceled with just a dusting of snow on the ground.

It doesn’t take long to experience my first funny moment back in Finland. But first I need to rewind this story a little bit. This season I am living with one of my teammates, Velma Oikarinen. So really the title of this blog should be named “Life with Velma”. Nonetheless, Velma and I share a similar sense of humor and we are both pretty laid back so I am excited for a fun year in our apartment. Another thing we share is the inability to put together furniture from IKEA. Velma was nice enough to get a bed for me so by the time I arrived at our apartment I would not be spending my first night on the floor. Anyways, we get to our place and we immediately get started on building my bed. Inside the decently big cardboard box contains all the pieces to my bed and an instruction manual. Important to point out that this instruction manual contains no written instructions, only pictures. I thought to myself, ok I am such a visual learner so this will be no problem plus I got my pal Velma helping me out so its no big deal. Two hours later and the bed only half way done, both of us are sweating and a bit frustrated being that the manual said it would only take 45 minutes to construct. So finally after three hours and many laughs my new bed is all finished.  And if you thought this was funny, you should see us in the kitchen.


Recipe of the week: Healthy Scones (*note: I am just saying the word “healthy” because it makes me feel better after eating them so quickly)

-1 2/3 cup of flour

-1/3 cup of sugar

-1 tbsp. baking powder

-1/2 tsp. baking soda

-1/2 tsp. salt

– 1 stick of butter (equivalent to 8 tbsp.)

-1 1/3 cup of oats

-1 cup of frozen fruit

-1 egg

-1/2 cup of milk

Bake at 450 degree F (216 C)  for 18 or so minutes.

– Rief

Yhteistyössä Creature AD:n kanssa.