Juuso Pasanen provides steady hand to Syracuse midfield in final season

first_img Related Stories Julian Buescher operates from defensive position in wake of Juuso Pasanen’s injurySyracuse tests depth in win over Wolfpack Published on November 2, 2015 at 9:55 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonati Juuso Pasanen laid on the wet grass with his hands on his head and trainers examining his leg.Zero goals, three assists and the least points of any starter are what Syracuse lost when he came out of the game against Hartford on Oct. 20. His production wasn’t what made him so valuable. The player that became punctual and had grown into a leader this past year was what SU nearly lost.“If you’d ask the seniors when I was a freshman, I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to be a captain of the team here,” Pasanen said.The senior defensive midfielder may play his last game at SU Soccer Stadium on Wednesday. The injury against Hartford put the rest of his season in doubt — SU head coach Ian McIntyre constantly said he was day-to-day — but Pasanen was able to play against Boston College last Friday. As recently as SU’s game against North Carolina State on Oct. 23, Pasanen had worn a walking boot.He is one of three captains, and teammates say he provides a steady hand guiding SU in the back of offensive sets. Pasanen had to grow up early, moving from Finland to Switzerland and leaving behind where he was born.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s a calming influence on our team,” McIntyre said.Pasanen found out he was moving after he came home from a soccer practice and his mother told him his dad had been offered a job in Switzerland. His father flew there and stayed for a month. Pasanen’s parents deliberated about having his mother and he and his siblings stay in Finland, but ultimately they decided to go as a family.The Swiss Airlines plane dropped among the Alps, a rare sight to Pasanen because Finland is mostly flat, he said. “Clarity,” by John Mayer vibrated in his ears as it finally hit him that the move was real.He and his family moved approximately the distance from Syracuse to Los Angeles when they moved near Hunenberg, Switzerland from Kuopio, Finland. He played for FC Zurich’s club team and attended the International School of Zug and Luzern.In Finland, kids start school a year later than in most other parts of the world. When Pasanen moved to Switzerland, he started hanging out with kids in the 10th grade, one grade higher than him.“In a way I felt like I was more mature than kids in my grade,” Pasanen said.He was allowed to skip a grade to take classes with the older kids he had already been hanging out with. Pasanen’s older siblings had come to the United States for an exchange-student program, with one traveling to Boston and the other to Chicago. They dropped a grade below, so he also was able to jump up to their’s.At Zug and Luzern, some kids had parents that worked at an embassy, so Pasanen learned not to get attached because some friends were there one week and gone the next.Even though he said the first move helped him adjust at SU, he admits he wasn’t quite ready. Moving from Switzerland to Syracuse was double the distance from Finland to Switzerland.“Back then I moved with my family, now I moved alone,” Pasanen said. “So it was more of a responsibility.”He said some of the little things have improved like being on time and that he was “noisy all the time like an excited, new, young kid.” The maturity has come with the responsibility of being an older player on the team. Twelve players left Syracuse after last season to play professionally, graduate or transfer, two of which would have been seniors.In the offseason, he had meetings with McIntyre and the other coaches, Liam Callahan and Oyvind Alseth. He knew he had to grow as a captain.“You can go to him if you need that (calming influence),” freshman Andreas Jenssen said.Alseth says sometimes Pasanen’s laid-back mentality can be mistaken for laziness. Even though he’s become one of the leaders, he still has kept some of the tendencies from when he wasn’t regarded that way.There’s still the locker room jokes and sarcasm even though some of his teammates don’t get it. Sometimes it’s just Pasanen and Korab Syla that understand their own band of sarcasm with some jokes not suitable for print.“I’m mature, right?” Pasanen said to Ben Polk, who walked by.“Of course, mate,” Polk joked as he smiled. Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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