ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville goalkeeper Lassi Hurskainen is a hardworking student-athlete balancing classes in Mass Communication with soccer practices. Now, he's learning how to manage worldwide media attention as the latest YouTube star.
Hurskainen, a native of Finland, is a talented goalie with a knack for performing mind-boggling soccer tricks. Classmates Kenny Paradiso and Jesse Tanas thought these stunts would be good material for a highlight reel to post on YouTube. The three filmed for six days, creating a three-minute video that they posted online Monday, Feb. 14. Hurskainen expected a few hundred hits from friends and family, but within days the video had received nearly a million hits, fueled by global media attention.
"I had no idea it was going to be this big," he said. "There have been other similar things online but there's never been a goalkeeper doing it. I think that is what makes it unique."
So far, the video has appeared in major media outlets in the United States, Finland and England. Hurskainen has also been interviewed by journalists from France, Mexico and Japan. NBC Sports called the reel "impressive." And rumor has it that the video will also soon be featured on ESPN's Sports Nation.
Hurskainen has remained humble. "Coach Matt Kern has given me good advice about it all. He told me to keep my feet on the ground and enjoy it," Hurskainen said. "Besides, it's good publicity for the school. UNC Asheville's name is being seen and read over a million times. It's a win-win situation for all of us."