The Finnish Floorball Federation has chosen Esa Jussila as the head coach of the men’s national team from the beginning of next year for the two-year period 2023–24. The contract also includes an option for the years 2025–26.
Jussila’s work starts at the beginning of 2023, and the main goal is the 2024 World Floorball Championships in Malmö, Sweden.
If Jussila’s choice might surprise those who follow top floorball, then not so much Jussila himself.
— More than surprised, I am very taken and grateful for the choice, the trust and the great opportunity, he characterises and continues:
— When I left my coaching position at the Swiss national team, and such an opportunity came up in Finland, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I applied with the assumption that I am the best option for the position. What is done is done to the fullest. The end result is then what is earned.
He will take over the reins of the national team from Petteri Nykky, who has been the head coach since 2017 and was also leading the men’s team in 2004–2011. Nykky will lead the Finnish team to the World Championships in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland, this November.
Jussila, 42, is one of the big names in Finnish floorball. In addition, he has created a career in Swiss floorball for almost a decade, both as a player and as a coach. Jussila has served as the captain of the men’s national team and represented Finland in seven World Championship tournaments (2000–2012) with two WFC golds, four silvers and a bronze. He played 139 matches in the national team. Jussila also has two NLA championships as the brightest achievements as a player in Switzerland.
He played 197 regular season games (105+182=287) and 55 play-off games (22+32=54) in the Finnish national league (now F-liiga) in his main club Josba and in the 2003–04 season in Oilers. Two silver medals and the same number of bronze medals are the memories from these years.
After his playing career, Jussila gained coaching experience in Switzerland at Alligator Malans. From 2013, Jussila was part of the coaching staff of the Swiss men’s national team until the World Championships in Helsinki in December 2021.
What can the men’s team expect from you as the head coach?
— Dedicated and player-oriented. The most important thing is that the players are met as individuals and people, and not just as result makers. I strive to create an environment and atmosphere where everyone can bring their best to the table. I believe that this is the best way to bring out the best measured athletic performance. Time will tell what the national team will be like.
What kind of coaching knowledge did you gain from your years in Switzerland and how could you use it in the Finnish national team?
— Coaching is managing people and everyone is different. Over the years, I have been able to coach very different personalities. I have certainly gained experience from these encounters, and how you can help people in different life situations and get the best out of them for the team. On the game side, I believe in versatility. There is no one way to play floorball. In addition, I have been able to work with both Finnish and foreign top coaches and learn a variety of things already during my playing career.
And what can you draw from your playing career for this head coach position?
— It doesn’t hurt that one has seen action from both sides of the rink. The national team events are short and intense, and the players can have a little moment of nervousness when they arrive in a new group. It is easier to join when the game goals and instructions are clear to the players in advance. As well as what is expected of them.
Your duties will start in about four months. At this stage, are you able to tell what new things you will bring to coaching?
– First you have to familiarise yourself with the current operations. I know that there is a lot of good stuff to take with you and competent people in charge. Of course, I will bring my own personality to that, but it’s not worth going into the details at this stage, especially when the national team has the World Championships quite close. I’ve certainly thought about it, but we’ll come back to these later.
Source: Finnish Floorball Federation