Kai Haaskivi:A Soccer Story

About the Film

Fifty years ago Kai Haaskivi signed his first soccer contract in Finland and four years later (1978) he transferred from FC Kiffen in Helsinki Finland to Dallas Tornado.   “The Flying Finn” starred in the North American Soccer League playing both outdoor and also indoor soccer (MISL) and became one of the leading scorers and top midfielders of all time.  From the white snow of Finland to the green of the pitch, this documentary follows Kai’s story and the score of success along the way.

Meet the Creative Team

Katherine Michelle Tanner


Katherine Michelle Tanner is originally from Hastings, Minnesota and lives in Sarasota, Florida as an actor, playwright, singer, director, filmmaker, choreographer, photographer and teaching artist.  She received her B.A. triple major in Theatre, Dance and Education from St. Olaf College and her M.F.A. in Acting from Florida State University’s Asolo Theatre Conservatory.  Katherine’s passion for performance has taken her from Broadway to Regional Theatre, from Film to Television and from Country to Country. 

She is best known for her multi-award winning performance of the one woman play The Amish Project (Off Broadway and US Tour). Regional theatre favorite roles include Proof, August Osage County, Hamlet, , Metamorphoses, Suddenly Last Summer, The Drowning Girls, Nineteen, The Glass Menagerie, Gidion’s Knot, The Last Five Years, Charm, A Doll’s House, Picasso’s Women and many more.  Films include Bridge to The Other Side, Waiting on Mary, The Darndest Things, 15 Minutes of Faye, A Chance to Live and Respire Mon Amie. Television Diamond’s Along the Highway on PBS.

Katherine has directed the films The New Girl,
The Holocaust Project; 44 feature documentaries of survivors, The Crimson Cloak, Living Losing Loving and the upcoming documentary, Kai Haaskivi: A Soccer Story.

Katherine recently won the Playwriting competition at CLUTCH Productions in NY for her suffragist musical Nineteen. She has written and composed the plays/musicals Mann’s Last Dance, Shakespeare’s Lovers, The Women of Broadway, Recipe for the Holiday, Nineteen, Echoes, Idiot Servant, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl, Pippi Longstocking, and The Enchanted Toy Shop

Katherine is owner and Artistic Director of Tree Fort Productions Projects, a not-for-profit 501c3 Production Company with a Mainstage of Professional Theatre and Tree Fort Productions Studio an award winning production company and training studio for actors, dancers, singers, directors, writers, musicians and filmmakers of all ages.


Kai Haaskivi


Kai Haaskivi has been one of the greatest names in American Soccer history for the past 40 years.

He established himself as a true superstar as a member of the Finnish National Team (1977-84) and in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL),

Kai played in the qualifying matches for the 1978 and 1986 FIFA World Cups and for the 1980 European Championships. Kai scored goals against the strongest teams at the toughest places and against the best goalies in international soccer, like England’s Ray Clemence, Italy’s World Cup legend Dino Zoff, against Russia at the Lenin Stadium in Moscow and against the world famous New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL) at the Giant Stadium.


Kai competed against the best players in the world, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Paulo Rossi, Kevin Keagan, George Best, Carlos Alberto, Marinho, Gerd Muller and Nene Cubillas. He knows how it feels to mark Italy’s talented Giancarlo Antognoni or try to beat their famous sweeper, Giacinto Facchetti, being marked by Germany’s tough Berti Vogts or chase the great Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.


During Kai’s professional career he played for GrIFK (1974), HJK (-75-76) and Kiffen (-77) in Helsinki, Finland. In North America, he played for the Dallas Tornado (1978) of the North American Soccer League (NASL), Houston Hurricane (1979-80) and with the Edmonton Drillers of the NASL (1980-82). Considered as one of the top midfielders in the history of NASL, Kai also combined his soccer skills with his hockey and basketball background to become one of the best players in the MISL and NASL indoor leagues.


Kai was a member of the MISL’s 10th Anniversary Team, an eight-time indoor All-Star, MVP of the 1980-81 NASL Indoor regular season and the finals. He was the MVP of the 1987 MISL All-Star Game. Kai retired being ranked 3rd on the MISL’s all-time scoring list. Cleveland Crunch of the MISL retired # 12 in honor of the “Flying Finn,” Kai Haaskivi. MISL inducted Kai to their Hall of Fame – Class of 2013.


Kai led Edmonton Drillers to the 1981 NASL indoor title with 32 points (15 + 17) in just six play-off games, while also leading four different Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) franchises, Houston Summit, Baltimore Blast, the Cleveland Force and the Cleveland Crunch to championship finals appearances.


Kai has extensive coaching experience at every level. He served as the Head Coach of Cleveland Crunch of the MISL and as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the “A “League of the United Soccer League (USL)


Kai was the Head Women’s and Men’s soccer Coach for Myers University in Cleveland, Ohio and the Head Coach of the Bradenton Academics of the Premier Development League (PDL).


Kai was the first Director of the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, FL, where he served as the U.S. Under-17 Boys National Team Assistant Coach during preparation for the 1997 and 1999 Youth World Cups. Kai also served as a scout for the US Youth National Teams. Currently Kai is the Director of Coaching for the Sarasota Spartans Soccer Club in Sarasota, Florida and North American Scout and Advisor for in4sports-group, based out of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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