Tim Sparv

Full-time footballer, part-time student, columnist and entrepreneur

My name is Tim Sparv and I’m originally from the region Ostrobothnia in the western part of Finland. I was born 1987 in Vaasa but grew up in a small village called Oravais together with my parents and my two siblings. I went to school in Oravais and later in the neighbouring village Vörå.

Sport was from an early age a big part of my family’s life. My dad had played and coached football at amateur level and became mine and my brother’s coach from the moment we started playing football ourselves. My mum was a good hurdler and got us all involved in athletics. In the winters I skied or played floorball next to my football. I’ve always been a great believer that it’s good for young people to try different sports when they’re young instead of focusing on only one.

However when I was 16 years old and had finished my basic education I packed my bags and moved to England to focus solely on football. I signed for Southampton FC and spent more than three years on the southcoast in their fantastic academy set-up. The environment was great for my personal development and I had the privilige to play together with some really great players. Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana to name a few. Between 2007 and 2009 I played for the Swedish club Halmstads BK where I got my first taste of senior football. The transition from youth player to senior was not easy but I learned a lot from the highs and lows from my time on the Swedish westcoast and have greatly benefitted from it. In 2008 I had a brief one month loan spell at Finnish club VPS.

The Dutch club FC Groningen was my next club and I played there from 2010 to 2013. The club from the northern part of The Netherlands was overall a great experience where I got a taste of yet another type of football in a big, modern and often sold out stadium. And I still see the Dutch as some of the more open and social people I’ve ever met. In the summer of 2013 I moved to the German second division club Greuther Fürth where I played one season. We had a great year and came third but lost out on a place in Bundesliga after a qualifying tie against Hamburger SV.

Since the summer of 2014 I’m a FC Midtjylland player. In my first year playing for the danish side we won the club’s first championship and a year later we qualified for Europa League after beating my old club Southampton FC. I’m also a very proud national team player for Finland and I’ve represented my country since I was 15 years old. The highlight so far was in 2009 when I captained our U-21 side at the European Championships in Sweden.

My life is and has been about football and it’s still the best thing I know. Its complexity fascinates me and I’m lucky to have experienced so many different footballcultures during my time abroad. Still, as I grow older I’m starting to feel that football alone is not enough for me anymore. I need other things in my life to stimulate me and develop me as a person. Continuous learning is the key. I’m in general fascinated by (sports)psychology and leadership. I read and reflect a lot about the mental side of the game and what kind of leadership you need to get the most out of a group of 25 different human beings.

The last few years I’ve been writing columns for the finnish newspaper Pohjalainen which I really like. I also went back to school a couple of years ago and I’m now trying to finish my upper secondary education ten years later than everyone else. But you have to start somewhere and preparing for the future is never a bad thing. Although it’s been really rewarding I’m definitely looking forward to the day when I’m done and can start studying something even more appropriate for me and my future plans.

Having my own website/blog is me taking a step into the unknown. But breaking out of ones comfort zone is generally a good thing so I’m excited and curious how it will look. This will be another platform for me to share my thoughts and hopefully connect and debate with people all over the world. I hope I can give you something that you’ll find useful and interesting.