Maija Saari

Last updated
Maija Saari
Personal information
Full nameMaija Karoliina Saari
Date of birth (1986-03-26) 26 March 1986 (age 33)
Place of birth Vaasa, Finland
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in) [1]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Youth career
FC Kiisto
Senior career*
2002–2008 FC Honka
2009–2010 Umeå IK 43 (4)
2011 Kolbotn 21 (1)
2012 AIK 22 (2)
2013 Mallbackens IF 8 (0)
2014–2015 AIK 36 (2)
2016 Stabæk
2016 Vålerenga
2017–2018 HPK
National team
2007–2016 Finland 86 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 06:21, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 06:21, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Maija Karoliina Saari (born 26 March 1986) is a Finnish international footballer who plays as a defender. She previously represented AIK, Mallbackens IF and Umeå IK in Sweden, Kolbotn, Stabæk Fotball Kvinner, and Vålerenga in the Norwegian Toppserien and FC Honka and HPK in her home country. Since making her debut for the Finland women's national football team in 2007, Saari has won over 85 caps and captained the team.

AIK Fotboll (women)

AIK Fotboll Damer is a Swedish women's association football club from Stockholm, currently competing in the Elitettan. The team, a section of AIK, is affiliated to the Stockholms Fotbollförbund and plays in the Skytteholms IP in Solna, Stockholm.

Mallbackens IF is a football club from Mallbacken, 15 kilometres north of Sunne in Värmland, Sweden. The club was established in 1942 and played in the Women's premier division (Damallsvenskan) for the first time in 1986. They currently play in Sweden's second division, the Elitettan.

Umeå IK

Umeå IK[ˈʉːmɛɔ ²iːkoː] is a women's association football club based in the city of Umeå, Sweden. Established in 1917 as a general sports club, the women's football section began competing in 1985. In 1996 the team reached the Premier Division (Damallsvenskan) only to be relegated the following year. In 1998 they were promoted again and have since remained in the top division. Umeå IK has won seven Swedish championships, four Swedish Cups and the UEFA Women's Champions League twice, in 2003 and 2004. They also reached the Champions League finals in 2002, 2007 and 2008.


Club career

A strong, left-sided defender, Saari won three consecutive domestic titles with FC Honka in 2006, 2007 and 2008. She joined the club aged 10 after moving to Helsinki from her birthplace of Vaasa and rose to captain the club. In December 2008 Saari signed a two-year contract with Swedish club Umeå IK. [2] In 2011, she played for Kolbotn Fotball in the Norwegian Toppserien, before returning to Sweden with AIK. [3]

FC Honka (women)

FC Honka Naiset is a Finnish women's football team representing FC Honka Espoo in the Naisten Liiga.

Helsinki Capital of Finland

Helsinki is the capital and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 650,058. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities.

Vaasa City in Ostrobothnia, Finland

Vaasa is a city on the west coast of Finland. It received its charter in 1606, during the reign of Charles IX of Sweden and is named after the Royal House of Vasa. Vaasa has a population of 67,588, and is the regional capital of Ostrobothnia.

Saari returned to AIK for the 2014 season, having spent 2013 with Mallbackens IF. [4] In December 2015 she agreed a return to Norway, signing a two-year deal with Stabæk Fotball Kvinner. [5]

Stabæk Fotball Kvinner is Stabæk IF's women's football team, started on 23 October 2008 with a core of players from Asker. Asker had lost its licence to play in the top league after a failure to meet financial targets, and Stabæk's chairman Mimi Berdal arranged for the new team to be formed within Stabæk IF. The team was immediately joined by other players including Solveig Gulbrandsen.

International career

She made her debut for the senior Finland team on 7 March 2007; playing 90 minutes against Sweden in the Algarve Cup. [6] Saari also played in all four of Finland's matches at UEFA Women's Euro 2009, including the quarter final defeat to England.

Finland womens national football team womens national association football team representing Finland

The Finland women's national football team represents Finland in international women's football. The team, controlled by the Football Association of Finland (SPL/FBF), reached the semi-finals of the 2005 European Championship, surprising the female football world having drawn with Sweden and beaten Denmark. Finland hosted the 2009 EC finals.

Sweden womens national football team womens national association football team representing Sweden

The Sweden women's national football team represents Sweden in international women's football competition and is controlled by the Swedish Football Association. The national team has won the European Competition for Women's Football in 1984, one World Cup-silver (2003), as well as three European Championship-silvers. The team has participated in six Olympic Games, eight World Cups, as well as ten European Championships. Sweden won bronze medals at the World Cups in 1991, 2011 and 2019.

The Algarve Cup is an invitational tournament for national teams in women's association football hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). Held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994, it is one of the most prestigious and longest-running women's international football events and has been nicknamed the "Mini FIFA Women's World Cup".

In June 2013 Saari, by then the national team captain, was devastated to be ruled out of UEFA Women's Euro 2013 with a cruciate ligament injury. [7]

UEFA Womens Euro 2013 2013 edition of the UEFA Womens Euro

The 2013 UEFA Women's Championship, commonly referred to as Women's Euro 2013, was the 11th European Championship for women's national football teams organised by UEFA. The final tournament, held in Sweden from 10 to 28 July 2013, became the most-watched in the history of the Women's Euros. It concluded with Germany, the defending champions, winning their sixth consecutive and eighth overall Women's Euro title after defeating Norway in the final.

Cruciate ligament type of ligament shaped like an X

Cruciate ligaments are pairs of ligaments arranged like a letter X. They occur in several joints of the body, such as the knee joint and the atlanto-axial joint. In a fashion similar to the cords in a toy Jacob's ladder, the crossed ligaments stabilize the joint while allowing a very large range of motion.

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  1. "Finland". Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  2. Britta Åkerlund. "Umeå IK värvar finsk landslagsback" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  3. AIK signs the Finnish Maija Saari
  4. Karlsson, Juho (2 December 2013). "Saari återvänder till AIK" (in Swedish). Yle . Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  5. Holmlund, Tor Bjørnar (21 December 2015). "Finlands landslagskaptein har signert for Stabæk" (in Norwegian). Budstikka . Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  6. "Maija Saari" (in Finnish). Suomen Palloliitto. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  7. Erävuori, Mikael (7 June 2013). "Devastated Saari out for Finland". UEFA . Retrieved 3 December 2013.
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