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Famous football player Mart Poom: "I have made my contribution to the growth of the Estonian population"

19.August 2015

Legendary Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom (43) retired more than 5 years ago; however, he is still lean-bodied, in good shape, and is an example of a man who lives a healthy lifestyle.

Is this famous goalkeeper satisfied with the role of sport in the everyday life of modern Estonian citizens? "Taking into consideration the many mass national sports events, we can say that the sporting way of life is rewarded in Estonia. I mean that there are many people here taking up amateur sports: jogging, cycling, and skiing. However, I would prefer children and young people to be more active. I would increase the number of classes in physical education at schools. Some time ago, people spent more time outside, played football, and were more active. I would prefer it remained the same", says Poom.


“As for the whole of Estonia, according to statistics the citizens of other countries with a higher quality of life pay more attention to sport and their health than we do. I think it is because they have more free time for an active lifestyle", he adds.


About his career


In December 2014 the goalkeeper published his autobiography, Mart Poom: My Story. In the course of its presentation he said that he was not happy about his football career. This phrase became well known thanks to the local mass media. What was that: a joke or the truth?


"I am really a maximalist. Of course, I dreamed, wanted, and tried to achieve more in football. In hindsight, I see that I have no reason to complain. That is why those words are half true. At the club level there were no valuable wins, I picked up many injuries, and could have possibly played more. On the other hand, though, I was a professional football player in England. I was lucky to play for years with different British clubs. It was a remarkable time, although the period as a player on the national team of Estonia was interesting. I became a leading goalkeeper after the restoration of state independence, and played 120 matches for the country. It is a valuable achievement, and I am proud of it. But I would prefer to achieve more", explains Poom.


"I hope my book will be interesting for our readers. Some people may find it insightful; others will interpret it as motivation, a challenge. My readers will understand that to succeed you have to work hard", adds Poom.


About  Andrey Arshavin


In 2005 he joined London Football Club Arsenal. It was the peak of his career. He had never played in the starting eleven of one of the best British football clubs, but he still made a good impression there. That is why after finishing his career, Poom was invited in 2009 to Arsenal to train goalkeepers. There he met the most famous player of Russian football at that time – midfielder Andrey Arshavin.


"Arshavin is a nice guy and a talented football player. His beginning in Arsenal was great. Later he began to play less brightly, otherwise his career in England could have been longer. He had all the necessary football qualities. In interpersonal relations Andrey is a regular guy. I practiced my Russian while speaking with him, as I almost forgot it living in England. Before I met Arshavin I practiced my Russian with Aleksandr Gleb from Belarus, as we started at the same time with Arsenal. He and Arshavin are similar: they had a bright start, and were leaders and stars of Arsenal. They had a finished technique, professionally played in a team, and both were real masters of passing," Poom remembers his colleagues.


"I have never considered myself a star – nothing of the kind. I have always remembered my background. I just wanted to concentrate on football. In England people pay more money to come to a stadium. I have always remembered the people I played for and respected them," as the footballer shares his philosophy.


About his family and children


In addition, Poom is a family man, devoted husband, and caring father. He manages to do everything: to raise the children, to train, and to attend courses or seminars.
"It is difficult to describe my typical working day. I have different job responsibilities, so even similar days appear full of new things. For example, today I took part in a meeting of managing staff of the national Estonian football team which was held by Magnus Persson. His assistants were there as well – Jesper Norberg and Janno Kivisild. We discussed short-range plans. During a break I attended a youth football conference. Then the meeting of the managing staff continued; after that I went to my office in the ‘Nõmme United’ club, as I put a lot of time into this project as well", said Poom.


"I am the goalkeeper coach of the Estonian team, and a joint owner of a football school. I also take part in the department of coach training of the Estonian Football Association. In addition, I am a member of an expert club of goalkeepers at UEFA. From time to time, I visit different countries with regard to UEFA issues. This year I have already visited Turkey, England, and Serbia. So I lead an active life", added the former goalkeeper of the national Estonian football team.
Poom married in 2000. His elder son Markus was born before he married his wife Lissel. Currently, they have 3 children. Markus has just celebrated his 16th birthday, Andreas is 11, and Patrik will be 3 years old at the end of summer.
"My wife and I are happy parents. We have great children. I think we will stop. We have made our contribution to the growth of the Estonian population", smiled Poom.


"Markus is playing football seriously; however, in contrast to me he is a field player. He is a member of the ‘Nõmme United’ team and has been involved in national Estonian youth team. I think he is a gifted guy", the father characterizes his son.


"Andreas is playing tennis and studying music. Patrik is just 2.5 years old. Nobody knows his future sport, although he has been kicking the ball. Nobody knows", laughed the legendary football player.


About travelling


How often does Poom travel?


"I travel a lot. Mostly it is connected to the national Estonian team and my work in UEFA. Unfortunately, I have the chance go on vacation only once or twice a year. We have a tradition: every summer we try to go to Spain. Last spring we decided to have a rest in Egypt. This country very popular among Estonians", noted Poom.


During his career, Mart Poom visited many countries, mostly while a member of the Estonian national team. What place was the most exotic? "Our team had lots of flights. However, it seems our team visited exotic countries without me. There were flights to Thailand and Indonesia. I can just mention flights to China, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia – although it seems the last two countries are not exotic. I have been to South Africa, but it wasn’t so exotic there either", said the goalkeeper.


"Oh, Barbados! I was there during my honey moon. This is a beautiful and cozy island in the Caribbean Sea – excellent beaches. I had just married. I was happy. Definitely this one was the most remarkable", remembered Poom.




What does Mart Poom dream about? "I want my football school to get a new building. I want the Estonian national team to reach the final of the World Cup or the European Championship. I dream for everything to be OK. I want everyone to be healthy, and for children to find themselves in life. It does not matter what career they will choose", said the father of a large family.


"I am happy I have found myself in football. For me it is a hobby, work, and way of life. I do what is interesting to me. However, for me the main achievement in life is fatherhood; the most important thing is children", said Mart Poom.



Sergei Mikhailov



Mart Poom, professional football goalkeeper.

  • He was born in Tallinn in 1972.
  • He was a member of the following teams: Sport, Flora (Tallinn), Portsum, Derbу,Sunderland, Arsenal, Watford (London).
  • He took part in 120 matches in Estonia.
  • Married; father of 3 children; joint owner of the football school ‘Nõmme United’.


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