From Ice Hockey Rinks to Soccer Fields

Emma Nuutinen, a student-athlete at Lynn, decided to take the road that most people did not expect. After playing four years of college ice hockey, competing in the Olympics and the World Championships, Nuutinen decided to take a break from ice hockey and play college soccer.

Nuutinen, originally from Helsinki, Finland, started her journey in the United States in 2016 at the University of North Dakota, studying sports management and representing its ice hockey team. After her freshman year, she transferred to Mercyhurst University, Pennsylvania, where she stayed three years and graduated in 2020.

“Coming into the United States has helped me develop as an athlete and as a person,” said Nuutinen. “In Finland, it is really hard to combine studying in a university and playing sports at the same time. Therefore I am happy and thankful for this opportunity.”

Nuutinen grew up playing ice hockey and soccer her whole life and remembers many coaches and mentors always telling her to pick only one of these sports to continue playing. Nuutinen was always successful in soccer and ice hockey and liked both sports equally. Therefore she wanted to pursue both sports. In 2016, Nuutinen decided to quit soccer to focus solely on ice hockey.

“Hockey season was always during the winter and soccer season was during the summer in Finland, so I was able to play both sports. However, when I got older and was always on season, I started to get injured continuously. Once I got the scholarship to play hockey in the United States, I decided it was time to put soccer aside,” said Nuutinen. 

After deciding to pursue her sports career in ice hockey, Nuutinen thought that she would never have a chance to compete in soccer again. Most athletes are done after their four years of college sports, especially in the United States. Some athletes get the opportunity to play professionally, which was something that everyone expected Nuutinen would do after her graduation. Instead, she got a chance to continue her studies and play soccer for one more season.

“After my graduation I got offers to play professional hockey in Europe and North America. Those were good offers, but especially as a female athlete I want to continue my studies and earn a master’s degree here at Lynn University,” said Nuutinen. “Everything worked out perfectly and I am thankful for this opportunity and I cannot wait for the upcoming soccer season to play again.”

Nuutinen hopes that the soccer season will not be canceled again due to COVID-19 because she only has one year of eligibility and studies left at Lynn. Although her college journey is done after that, Nuutinen believes that she will find the right thing to do, when it is time

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