My name is André Puga Alves. I’m 33 years old and I’m from Portugal.
As many other Portuguese, I am a football fanatic, in reality, I’m a “sucker” for any kind of sports. Before starting my classes one of my goals was to join TAMK football team. As I knew other universities in Tampere have their own team, like in Hervanta for example, I was quite surprised that there wasn’t one available in the premises.
I found that to be my “ahh ahh” moment. I met Esko in one of our introductory lectures, and I immediately started asking questions about the possibility of having our own team. I knew that I was going to do everything within my power to at least have something similar for us.
In my culture sports unite different people, rich or poor, good or less good it does not matter, because on the pitch we are all the same with only one goal, to have fun. So, as a foreigner myself, I saw this as a great integration plan for those who have trouble fitting in and for those who already consider themselves “finns”.
So far, this experience has been really rewarding as in our team there are many different nationalities and most important both male and female players. We are, mostly, first year International Business students, but we also have second- and third-year students along with Erasmus. So far our group has 25 members and every week there’s someone new asking to join.
I believe that school spirit is important and that is a great way to engage people in something besides school. So, thanks to Esko Tirkkonen head of sport services, whom I have to say, is the real reason why this team exists, we finally managed to create a team and now have the same the same functions as the other campus/Universities in Tampere, and my ohh my, I have to say that it felt amazing when I was told “the football pitch is booked”.
Our main goals, as stated before, are to ease up the integration of both foreign and Finnish students, to allow everyone, no matter what gender or nationality to have fun, play the sport and make friends.
It is imperative that everyone has as much fun as possible and everyone can see it by looking at our faces or by hearing our laughs while we are together, but none of that would be possible if we wouldn’t have rules, or in this case, rule. For me there’s one main rule in life, and that opens the doors for everything, RESPECT. We all respect each other and that’s what makes of us this amazing group of individuals that we are.
We are hoping that by the end of the school year we will be big enough to have at least two different teams and maybe at some point sign up for some tournaments, or who knows, create our own.
So, if you like sports and want to make new friends, come and join us every Thursday 17-18 or Sunday 15-17.