Welcome: Jukka Raitala | PHOTOS: Jukka Raitala | Quotesheet: Gregg Berhalter
You have been playing professionally for about 10 years. How do you react to this next step in your career— having an opportunity to come to the U.S. and play for Columbus Crew SC?
JUKKA RAITALA: It's a very exciting challenge for me to come to MLS and play for Columbus Crew SC. I've seen that they play offensive soccer and that suits me well. I'm very proud to join the club and I'm going to give everything to be successful with Columbus Crew SC.
Being an outside back and joining a team that likes to attack out of the back, how does your playing style fit Crew SC’s?
JR: I'm a player who can adapt to different ways to play soccer. As a defender, it's great to be involved in the attack and to have a bigger role in the game for the whole 90 minutes.
You have played in multiple leagues and different countries— Finland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and finally Norway. How does your experience in different leagues help prepare you to play in Major League Soccer and make an immediate impact in Columbus?
JR: I've seen many different ways to play soccer and as a calm and hard-working player, I think to get used to the way of soccer in MLS won't take me too long.
What is an interesting fact about you that you think supporters would like to know?
JR: I have beaten [Lionel] Messi in an official game in Spain when I played with Osasuna against FC Barcelona. It's definitely one of the most valuable victories in my career.