Niko Hämäläinen and Mide Shodipo are brothers from separate continents who have crossed paths on many occasions, both on and off the pitch. It’s a relationship forged by football and dates back an impressive seven years, with the pair meeting in 2015 as fresh-faced QPR signings.
From here the duo both made over 25 appearances for The Rs who were in the midst of their second consecutive season in the Championship, following their relegation from the Premier League in the 2014–15 season.
With QPR being a team with plenty of experience at hand, Hämäläinen and Shodipo have been consistently rotated into the squad at different times and have both gained valuable experience elsewhere over their careers. Shodipo came up through the youth squad at QPR and has since been on loan with a few clubs including Colchester, Port Vale and Sheffield Wednesday, whilst Hämäläinen has been back to the country he originated from, making moves in the MLS for LA Galaxy.
It was in America that Hämäläinen formed a career in football. Playing from as young as 3-years-old, kicking the ball around his house, he tells me how football wasn’t formally introduced to him by anyone in particular, it was something that came naturally and the passion only grew stronger with age. Being surrounded by top coaches in the USA, and most importantly his dad (who played for Finnish football club Koparit in the late 70’s), there was football clearly present in the Hämäläinen genes.
With a Finnish father, an American citizenship, and a highly successful career within football, it was only a matter of time before Hämäläinen had to make the all important decision about international duty. After playing for both Finland and the USA at youth level, it was Finland that he embraced. He made his senior debut for them in 2019 with one of his highlights being his part in a 2-0 victory over France.
It’s becoming increasingly common in the modern game that players opt to choose between their dual nationalities on which club to represent. This is something that ties both Niko Hämäläinen and Mide Shodipo together.
Mide Shodipo shares the same international dilemma as Hämäläinen but for the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria. Both in green and both producing a similar amount of world class players, there was a time when Shodipo was growing up that it was a choice between Jay-Jay Okocha and Roy Keane – two players you can only be inspired by.
Shodipos career has been highly exciting so far, with his most exciting season unfurling this year. It’s been this season that Shodipo has really shown his commitment to the game at full capacity: rocking the number seven shirt and being a prominent figure in a squad that has got a high chance of promotion. It’s only up from here for the winger.
With Sheffield Wednesday fighting for promotion and QPR close to ending their season in a successful top-half finish, both players have had successful campaigns with their respective teams. Both making first team starts. The pressure has been on to play at their best and impress fans and anybody else rightfully keeping a close eye on the dynamic duo.
Styling, Creative Direction and Production: Nayaab Tania
Photography: Akash Khadka
Player Booking: 1ONECONCIERGE
Brands: ROUGH, Badlands, Amiri, Cartier, Peso, HESSNTIALS, Rick Owens, PURPLE BRAND, Balenciaga, Dior, COOBA.