Minnesota United today announced the club has acquired Finnish defender Jukka Raitala via trade with CF Montreal. MNUFC traded the rights of 2020 SuperDraft draftee Andrew Booth for the rights of Raitala, who has signed a new contract with Minnesota.
“We are adding an incredibly valuable player,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “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.”
The Finnish National Team left back has four years of MLS experience, having spent the last three seasons with Montreal where he made 69 appearances across 5,723 minutes. Raitala first joined MLS with the Columbus Crew in 2017, playing 20 games with the Crew, including two MLS Cup Playoff games. Prior to MLS, during the 2016 season, Raitala played for Sogndal IL in the Norwegian First Division, where he made 28 appearances, all starts, scoring one goal and providing five assists. Prior to joining Sogndal IL, Raitala made appearances for seven other clubs across Europe, including HJK Helsinki, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, SC Paderborn 07, Osasuna, SC Heerenveen, FC Vestsjælland and Aalborg BK.
Internationally, Raitala is an active member of the Finland National Team with current Loon Robin Lod. He made his debut at age 20 in a friendly match against Japan. The left back has over 50 appearances with the senior team and helped lead Finland to the 2020 UEFA European Championships, the nation's first appearance in the tournament. In June, 2011, he played in his first UEFA European Championship qualification match against San Marino. Prior to his senior experience, Raitala had also been part of the Finland youth system, representing his country at the U17, U19 and U21 levels. At the U21 level, he was a member of the Finnish team that qualified for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. In 2009, he was named the Finland U21 Player of the Year.
Transaction: Minnesota United has acquired Finnish defender Jukka Raitala via trade with CF Montreal. MNUFC traded the rights to 2020 SuperDraft draftee Andrew Booth for the rights of Raitala, who has signed a new contract with Minnesota.
Date of birth: 09.15.1988 (32 years old)
Weight: 174 lbs
Birthplace: Kerava, Finland