Thierry Henry’s first Impact captain, Jukka Raitala today joined his latest club, Minnesota United.
He hooks up with Finnish international team-mate Robin Lod. Both men will be looking to carry good form into the new MLS season as neither will want to miss Finland’s first-ever appearance in a finals tournament, the 2020 Euros held-over from last year.
Each featured strongly in the qualifying campaign in which the Finns prevailed by finishing second in the group behind Italy.
In return for Raitala, who joined Montreal Impact in 2018, CF Montreal acquired the rights of 2020 SuperDraft draftee Andrew Booth*.
Former Everton favourite Adrian Heath now in charge at Minnesota said, “We are adding an incredibly valuable player.
“Jukka is someone who understands our league and has some impressive national team experience with Finland – where he is of course teammates at the national level with Robin Lod. So we know what to expect from him from day one here in Minnesota.
“He’s an experienced defender who will continue to uplift our roster and provide competition at our fullback spot. I’ve always said the best thing for players is competition and we have no doubt he will come here expecting to play and elevate our club and community.”
In a career of over 360 first-class appearances including 53 international caps, the versatile 32-year-old defender made 69 MLS appearances for the Impact (18th overall in club records). He made another 10 appearances in other competitions.
Much-travelled Raitala’s career has seen him play league football for clubs in eight countries: Finland, Germany, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Norway, USA and Canada.
*Andrew Booth is a 23-year-old defender, signed by Greenville Triumph SC for the stretch drive of the USL League One season in September, appearing in seven matches and scoring once.