Mika Nurmela

Mika Nurmela (26 December 1971) played for many years with FC Emmen and became 'King of the Assist' at SC Heerenveen. Also played for Heracles Almelo in the Netherlands.

Mika Nurmela started his career in 1990 with the Finnish club Rauman Pallo. In 1991 he moved to FC Haka, where he played for two seasons. After that he played three seasons for The Swedish Malmö FF. Mika then played eight seasons in the Netherlands. Of which four in the first division at Emmen and also four for SC Heerenveen in the Eredivisie. At the last club he became king of the assist with his incredibly dangerous forwards from the right flank.

Between 1995 and 1999, Nurmela played 122 official matches for FC Emmen. And nineteen times Mika would score a goal in this. He entered the footsteps of another cult hero, Mika Lipponen. The Finn with the long blonde hair was even to blame for this transition. Emmen was a successful team at the time. Because all four seasons the post-competition was achieved. Unfortunately, Nurmela and his teammates came up just a little short to be promoted.

In 1999, the Finn's good play led to a transition to Friesland. At SC Heerenveen it became clear that they had brought in a man with a golden right foot. He often played right in midfield or right-hander. Nurmela had a perfect cross, gave a lot of assists and also not insignificant: also scored regularly from a free kick. Nurmela was therefore four years incapable from the basic elf of 'The Superfriezen'.

In 2000, SC Heerenveen qualified for the UEFA Champions League, with Nurmela in the ranks. In 2003, the Frisians failed to qualify for the UEFA Cup via the Intertoto final against Villarreal. The Spanish club won 1–2 in Friesland and kept SC Heerenveen from scoring in the El Madrigal where the final score was 0-0. For Mika, it was time to leave in 2003. Looking for a new adventure.

After his adventure in the Netherlands he left for the German 1. FC Kaiserslautern. However, Mika did not come out of the picture and was regularly left out of the starting eleven. He finished the Finnish season 2005 in the capital at HJK Helsinki. Then, in November 2005, his agent managed to link him to the promoted Heracles Almelo, where he had an important role as a player with experience.

Heracles has been looking for players since the promotion in the summer of 2005. There was a shortage of a right-back. And due to the long-term injury of Bernard Hofstede also a right striker. Heracles was able to fill both positions with Mika Nurmela. In fact, Nurmela was able to hold all positions on the right. The purchase was certainly not unwise for a club like Heracles that did not have an extensive midfield. Nurmela would eventually score 22 goals (two goals) and produce two goals.

After the 2005/2006 season, Nurmela returned to his homeland to play for HJK Helsinki. In the 2008 season he played for RoPS Rovaniemi at the second Finnish level. Sometime in 2014 it was revealed that Mika Nurmela had become technical director and player at AC Oulu. This is a club from the town of Oulu, located in the northwest of Finland. This is where he would eventually give it his all.

Nurmela was a regular for the Finnish national team until the loss on 8 June 2005 against the Netherlands (0-4). He played a total of 71 games in which he scored five times. Nurmela made his debut on 4 November 1992 in the friendly against Tunisia (1-1), as did Aki Hyryläinen (HJK Helsinki), Sami Hyypiä (MyPa) and Antti Niemi (HJK Helsinki). In the end, the number of internationals only stopped at 71. Five times there was the name of Nurmela on the scoreboard as a goalscorer.

In 2014 it was revealed that Mika Nurmela had become technical director at his club AC Oulu.  Since retiring as a footballer in 2014, Mika has worked for the Finnish Football Association. He was then given the position of assistant national coach for the Finnish national team.

(Photo: Wikimedia)

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