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TWG Player Interviews: Salo & Kohonen – 14.07.2017

 
Mika Kohonen is a living floorball legend who has been part of the Finnish national team since 1997. He has been chosen as the best floorball player in the world five times (2005, 2009-2012) and is still one of the top player at 40 years old. He is the only player in the Top Swedish League, SSL, who has scored over 1000 points and is also third in the WFC All Time top Scorers. Nico Salo is one of the most talented centers in the world and knows how to build up play. He has won the World Championship in the U19s as well as in the Men´s. Next season Salo plans to join Kohonen in the SSL team FC Helsingborg. 

  Nico Salo
Player number: 20
Current position: Defender
Grip: left
Height: 181
Date of birth: 21.01.1994
Country of birth: Finland
Current Club: Classic Tampere

Mika Kohonen
Player number: 29
Current position: Forward
Grip: left
Height: 189
Date of birth: 10.05.1977
Country of birth: Finland
Current Club: FC Helsingborg (SWE)
Original Club: FC Vaajakoski


How does it feel to be part of the national team?

Mika: It’s the greatest honour to represent the Finnish national team.
Nico: It’s an honour to represent Finland since the best players play there, so it’s a big thing for me.

What is your role in the national team?
Mika: Centre, hahah. And try to be the best as I can and help the team and the teammates.
Nico: I try to be centre who makes other players better in the field. Of course, I try to lead the team and to be an example to other players.

How does it feel to be playing at TWG?
Mika: Actually, I played in TWG in Lahti in 1997. It was 20 years ago so I was a little bit younger, but great fun and a big event. And disappointment, we came second so silver is silver but it was great fun. TWG 2017 is a new big tournament for us as a sport also. I think it’s quite exciting.
Nico: It’s a big thing, there’s only 12 field players in each team so there’s the absolute top players. And it’s a huge tournament with lots of athletes. So, it’s a big thing for me, for the team and for floorball.

 

Who would you say is your toughest opponent at TWG?
Mika: Lots of them. We are only six teams. Sweden, Switzerland and Czech Republic of course but every game is tough and important.
Nico: If I have to say one player I would name Alexander Rudd. I played many finals against him in the U19 and in the Men’s national team. He has always been the toughest opponent for me.

How did you start playing floorball?
Mika: By accident actually. I have played hockey and football for quite a time. From two years old to 19 with hockey and 22 with football. Old friend asked me to join junior floorball team in Happee in Jyväskylä in my home town and I said yes and we came second in the whole country. Quite fast I fell in love with the sport and football and hockey faded away and now we are here, 22 years later.
Nico: I was six years old and my mom took me to play and it was love at first sight. That was the thing for me, the best sport. There were also all my best friends.

 

What has been your most memorable floorball moment so far?
Nico: I have to say all the championships that I got. Maybe the first World Championship in Riga in December.
Mika: I have lots of them. As I said I have played 22 years on the highest level in Sweden and in Finland, but I would say that the people, team mates, coaches, staff, fans. You never forget the joy and happiness, sadness and tears. it’s always easy to say that gold medals and big things is the thing but in the end, it’s the people who with you every day train and play and experience things together. And if you have to take one big happening it’s the WFC in Helsinki in 2010 when we deserved to be the best team in the world. It was special.

Who do you look up to? Any idols?
Mika: Many people. First of all, my parents. My father was a hockey and football goalie and I’ve tried to learn from the older people. They know more. They have more experience. I try to grow every day and be a better person, better father, better player. So, I have many mentors if you want to put it that way.
Nico: All the older players in our national team. There’s Mika kohonen, Juha Kivilehto, Tatu Väänänen they’re all great players. And I try my best to get all the things from them and take example.