Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz dubbed July 7, 2023, "Finnesota Day" to give Teemu Pukki a well-considered Twin Cities welcome for all of the future goals he'd net in a Minnesota United uniform.

His introductory news conference Friday was a microcosm of that excited emphasis.

Around 2 p.m., the well-known Finnish striker sat with Loons coach Adrian Heath and technical director Mark Watson on either side as he fielded questions.

Goal scorer went from phrase to motif, in a matter of minutes.

As references were rattled off, though, a word arose from a non-media audience member that seemed to remind Pukki who he was: A Finn, forged on the strength of sisu.

"A never-give-up attitude," Pukki said, when asked what it meant.

Although Pukki noted that Minnesota's prominent Finnish population did not motivate his decision to join the Loons, those who identify with his descent and drive to succeed in a new chapter of his life showed up to support the 33-year-old on Friday.

A board member of the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, Susanna Ojo, said representatives from the FACC, Global Minnesota and Finnish American Cultural Activities were invited by Minnesota United chief revenue officer Bryant Pfeiffer. Each entity covers the range of Finnish-American relations from business to government to music, but all with a singular goal Friday of being there for Pukki's big day.

Ojo, a Finn herself, called their attendance a display of sisu— an "unlimited, unstoppable stamina" to look out for their own.

"That is what connects all Finns in a way, is that depth of strength, that 'I'm here to make sure that you do well,'" she said.

"It's almost like a superpower because [we're] known to have this stamina that's just above and beyond, of not quitting. We don't stop until we make it what we need it to be."

As Pukki takes care of his business on the pitch, Ojo hopes the FACC can help ease his off-the-field transition to a new life in the United States with his wife, Krisikka, and 5-year-old daughter, Olivia. In a preliminary conversation Ojo said she had with Pfeiffer at Friday's presser, those aims were expressed.

Although details for collaboration have yet to be discussed, Ojo suggested how important it is for Pukki to just see Finnish flags waved for him at Allianz Field.

"That's the whole message, is that you call and we come," Ojo said.

Now that Pukki has received his International Transfer Certificate (ITC), per Minnesota United media relations, the long-awaited designated player could make his debut against Austin FC on Saturday — years after fellow Finland national team member and now MNUFC teammate, Robin Lod, first introduced the possibility of joining.

"I had a feeling already that it would be nice to experience something else outside of Europe," Pukki said. "And then Minnesota came up."

He'll have to wait a bit to actually play alongside Lod, whose extended absence continues after he underwent surgery in May for a season-ending torn meniscus in his right knee.

He's still a familiar face in an otherwise new clubhouse, nonetheless.

In fact, it was Lod's comment on sisu that sparked the related question posed to Pukki, which brought to light a sense of character that Heath said he uncovered in talks with Markku Kanerva — Finland's national team manager.

"Couldn't speak highly enough of him, not only as a player but more importantly a guy that you get every single day," Heath said.