Jukka Raitala (born 15 September 1988) is a Finnish professional footballer who plays for HJK and the Finnish national team. He usually plays as a left back in both his club side and the national team but can also operate as a right back or a central defender. Raitala was born in Kerava, Finland, where he played for the local youth team before moving to HJK's youth organization.
|Full name||Jukka Raitala|
|Date of birth||15 September 1988|
|Place of birth||Kerava, Finland|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|2009–2010||→ TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (loan)||2||(0)|
|2010||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II||2||(0)|
|2010–2012||TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||0||(0)|
|2010–2011||→ SC Paderborn 07 (loan)||29||(0)|
|2011–2012||→ Osasuna (loan)||17||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 26 November 2021|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 09:24, 22 June 2021 (UTC)
Raitala joined the Keravan Pallo-75 junior team at the age of seven. He played there for ten years before he moved to HJK in 2005. After just one year in the youth team he was promoted to HJK's reserve team, Klubi-04. In his lone season with Klubi-04, Raitala made 22 appearances.
In 2007, he made his first appearance for the senior side at the age of eighteen and was since then a regular in the starting eleven. His success with the Finland national under-21 football team and HJK has made him a transfer target in Finland. For a long time Raitala refused to sign a new contract with HJK, but when the club left him out of the playing squad he chose to sign a new deal that kept him in Helsinki until the end of the 2011 season.
In 2008, SpVgg Greuther Fürth scouted him in Helsinki. In October 2008, Finnish sports magazine IS Veikkaaja reported that AEK Athens, Ajax and 1899 Hoffenheim are also scouting him. In Greek Day News, Raitala stated that he is interested in a move to AEK and that he is friends with AEK's Perparim Hetemaj.
In November, West Bromwich Albion invited him for a test period after preparative negotiations with HJK. Raitala never did the trip and stated he does not want to risk playing time by moving. He wants a guarantee for his place in the 2009 Under-21 Euros team.
In January 2009, Newcastle United invited him for a week-long trial with their first team. It was also reported in Finnish IS Veikkaaja that Udinese Calcio and Middlesbrough F.C. are watching his progress.
In April 2009, Express.de wrote that Raitala is 1. FC Köln's top candidate to replace Pierre Womé as their left-back. On 23 April, Express.de said that Raitala is going to meet Köln and he has an exit clause in his new contract with HJK. This was later denied by the Finnish club.
On 21 April 2009, Raitala signed a new three-year deal with HJK.
On 31 August, HJK announced that Raitala had joined Hoffenheim on a season-long loan deal, with an option to buy him after the loan. On 15 March 2010, Raitala made his Bundesliga debut for Hoffenheim playing as a right defender against Werder Bremen. On 1 April 2010, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim signed him for four years.
On 28 July 2011, he was loaned again, this time to Osasuna in Spanish La Liga, with the Spaniards having an option to buy him for €1.25 million at the end of the season. On 28 August 2011, Raitala made his La Liga debut for Osasuna playing as a left defender against Atletico Madrid. Although being a starter during the first five league matches, he has since battled for the first-choice status with local prospect Eneko Satrústegui.
FC Vestsjælland & AaBEdit
In 2015, Raitala played in Denmark. He signed a half year contract with FC Vestsjælland on a free transfer. The club ended below the relegation zone, but the Danish media wrote that Raitala had been one of the best players in the club's weakly half year.
In the Summer of 2015, Raitala signed for one more half year with AaB. Raitala began very well, and played the first three matches and created one assist. But later was it clear that the competition on the left back-position was too strong. On 30 November 2015, announced the sports director Allan Gaarde, that Raitala had to find a new club.
On 3 December 2015 it was announced, that Raitala would leave the club at the end of the season with his contract expiring.
After one season with Columbus, on 12 December 2017, Raitala was selected by Los Angeles FC in the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft. He was then immediately traded with fellow expansion draftee Raheem Edwards to Montreal Impact in exchange for defender Laurent Ciman. Raitala's contract with Montreal expired at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Retun to HJKEdit
When Raitala was 20 years old he made his Finnish national team debut on 4 February 2009, in Tokyo in a friendly match against Japan when Stuart Baxter used him as a substitute. He played his first UEFA European Championship qualification game on 3 June 2011 when Mixu Paatelainen chose him to the starting line up against San Marino in Serravalle. During summer 2011 he established himself as a regular in the Finland national team.
He was also a regular in the Finnish under-21 team that qualified for the UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship final tournament in 2009.
- HJK Helsinki
- Montreal Impact
- 2009: Finland U21 Player of the Year 
|TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (loan)||2009–10||Bundesliga||2||0||0||0||–||–||2||0|
|TSG 1899 Hoffenheim||2010–11||Bundesliga||0||0||0||0||–||–||0||0|
|TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II||2010–11||Regionalliga Süd||2||0||–||–||–||2||0|
|SC Paderborn (loan)||2010–11||2. Bundesliga||29||0||0||0||–||–||29||0|
|Osasuna (loan)||2011–12||La Liga||17||0||2||0||–||–||19||0|
|Columbus Crew SC||2017||MLS||28||0||0||0||–||2[d]||0||30||0|
- As of match played on 21 June 2021.
- Ράιταλα: εννοείται πως μ'ενδιαφέρει (in Greek). DayNews.gr. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2008.[dead link]
- "Raitalan testimatka Englantiin lykkääntyi" (in Finnish). www.hjk.fi. 21 November 2008. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "20 Year-Old Finnish Defender Jukka Raitala In Tyneside Trial". www.nufcblog.com. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
- "1. FC Köln jagt Finnen-Talent" (in German). www.express.de. 4 April 2009. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
- "FC lockt Finnen Raitala" (in German). www.express.de. 23 April 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- "Jukka Raitalalle sopimus HJK:n kanssa vuoden 2011 loppuun asti" (in Finnish). www.hjk.fi. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
- "Bayer Leverkusen ollut myös Litmasen ja Forssellin perässä" (in Finnish). www.mtv3.fi. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "AGENT: PSV WANT RAITALA". www.sportinglife.com. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "Jukka Raitala siirtyy Saksaan TSG Hoffenheimiin" (in Finnish). www.hjk.fi. 31 August 2009. Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
- "1899 zieht Option für Raitala" (in German). MSN Sport. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "sc Heerenveen haalt Fins international Jukka Raitala" (in Dutch). www.sc-heerenveen.nl. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "AaB siger farvel til finsk landsholdsspiller" (in Danish). bold.dk. 3 December 2015.
- "Crew SC adds experienced European defender Jukka Raitala". Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "LAFC select Tico striker, young prospects in 2017 MLS Expansion Draft". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- "Impact acquires Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards". impactmontreal.com. Montreal Impact. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
- "L'Impact de Montréal exerce les options de dix joueurs | CF Montréal".
- Butler, Dylan (28 January 2021). "Minnesota United acquire veteran fullback Jukka Raitala in trade with CF Montréal". MLS Official Website. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
- "Suomelle selkäsauna Tokiossa" (in Finnish). YLE Urheilu. 4 February 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Forssell laukoi Suomelle nihkeän voiton" (in Finnish). YLE Urheilu. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "Montréal takes 2019 Canadian Championship title". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- "Jukka Raitala" (in Finnish). Suomen Palloliitto. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Benjamin Strack-Zimmermann. "Jukka Raitala – National Football Teams". National Football Teams.
- Jukka Raitala at Soccerway
- Jukka Raitala at Major League Soccer
- "Jukka Raitala" (in Finnish). palloliitto.fi. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
- Jukka Raitala – UEFA competition record (archive)
- Jukka Raitala – FIFA competition record (archived)
- Jukka Raitala at Major League Soccer
- Jukka Raitala at National-Football-Teams.com
- Jukka Raitala at Soccerbase
- Jukka Raitala at fussballdaten.de (in German)
- Jukka Raitala at Soccerway
- Voetbal International profile (in Dutch)
- Profile at FA of Finland's official website (in Finnish)
- Jukka Raitala at ESPN FC