Carlotta Regine talks about adjusting to life abroad: “I discovered a new world here in Finland”

Muut Sarjat / Haastattelu
Italian goalie Carlotta Regine represents TPS in Naisten Liiga.
Kuva © Timo Savela
Carlotta Regine moved from Italy to Finland in order to keep playing hockey. The 15-year-old goalie has adjusted to life abroad and has plenty to say about the way of life in Finland. After playing some games on a lower level, she made her Naisten Liiga debut with TPS in late November.

15-year-old Italian Carlotta Regine moved to Finland for season 2019–20. Her choice to move abroad was motivated by necessity. The Torino Bulls, her previous team, no longer operates a women's team and she had to look elsewhere for opportunities to keep playing. She played in a junior tournament in Stockholm and made a contact with a Finnish coach. It was, however, her friend who suggested playing in Finland.

– I came to Finland because I could not keep playing back home. I had to move elsewhere to keep playing. I also wanted some change in my life, a new experience. I have an Italian friend who plays in Pori and he suggested moving to Finland.

– I ended up in Turku because a Finnish coach asked me if I'd like to play for TPS.

Playing in Finland

Regine is youngest goalie in the team and has to be patient about getting to play. Seasoned veteran Isabella Portnoj has had a strong season with the team and gives the coaches little reason to put Regine or Jonna Moilanen between the pipes, except to give their starter some time off. Regine was, however, immediately given an opportunity to show what she is made off. Her first game with TPS was a pre-season game against SKIF Nizhny Novgorod.

– I felt anxious playing against the Russian team, SKIF. It was my first time playing against a pro team. Their players were older, bigger and stronger than I am. But it was a good challenge, I faced a lot of tough shots.

"I came to Finland because I could not keep playing back home"

Before playing her first regular season game with TPS, she spent some time with UJK, an affiliated team from Uusikaupunki that sought to qualify for the second tier league Mestis. Her debut game with TPS was in late November.

– I was not as anxious playing against Sport in my Naisten Liiga debut as I was against SKIF. I'm only 15 years old, so, for me, it was a really good experience to get to play on the top level in Finland.

Dealing with a communication breakdown

The young goalie is a regular sight on ice, hardly missing practice, be it in the morning or in the evening. Understandably no one else in the team speaks Italian, so much of the talking with her teammates and coaches is in English. At first communication with her teammates was an issue, but things got better after a while and now she is taking full advantage of having a goalie coach.

– I have enjoyed my time here so far. At first we had some communication issues but it's better now and I get along with everyone. I'm among the youngest players in the team, so the other players take good care of me.

– In Italy I didn't have a goalie coach, but here we have a goalie coach who's on ice with us during practice. Goalies get feedback during practice, which is really helpful.

Regine faced tough opposition in a pre-season game against SKIF, a Russian team from Nizhny Novgorod.
Kuva © Timo Savela

Observations on all things Finnish

Regine has not had much time to travel in Finland, to visit other cities like Helsinki and Tampere, but so far she has been quite taken by her new surroundings. For her, Finns have certain negative and positive qualities. On the downside, people are very reserved. On the upside, people are very respectful of one another.

– I've liked my time here. I discovered a new world here in Finland. It's much quieter, safer and cleaner here than it is in Italy. I can't say how things are elsewhere in Finland, but it's very peaceful here in Turku. Everything is very green here. There's a lot of vegetation, lots of grass and trees. You can find big parks in the city.

– People really keep to themselves. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult for me because Finns are quite reserved when it comes to talking. Then again, people are more respectful of one another than they are in Italy. Back home people knock down scooters and bikes all the time. Here you can also leave things somewhere and people don't steal them.

"It's much quieter, safer and cleaner here than it is in Italy"

What really gets the young Italian going is talking about food. While she has only spent a couple of months in Finland, she has made some keen observations about the local cooking habits. When it comes to what people eat regularly, she points out some areas of improvement.

– Food is really different here. For me, Italian food is much better. Here the pasta tends to be too soft for my taste and for some reason people eat it with ketchup.

– In Italy we use lots of salt and here there's almost no salt. The spices people use here are also different, so the food tastes a bit different from what I'm used to regardless of what it is. The chocolate is also really different from what I'm used to.

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