Tanel, soon to turn 13, came to the village almost five years ago together with his two-month-old brother who was the youngest kid ever taken into the village in Keila.
Tanel laughing together with his little brother
They came to the village when Tanel had just finished first grade and his mother was put into a nursing home because of her weak health, so the only options for Tanel and his little brother were either to live at an orphanage or at the SOS Children's Village. "Because of the age difference it was clear that they had no chance of staying together in an orphanage," says Sirje.
The SOS mother says that she is very happy with the boy's attitude and talents. "He has the best grades; maybe he sometimes doesn't get the best mark in singing. I do not have to check on him having completed his homework - he doesn't need to be reminded. In this respect, he is a very independent youngster."
Football is more interesting
Youngster Tanel started to develop his physical skills in track and field athletics and did quite well there, the coaches were happy with him, but after two years, he suddenly wanted to play football.
"I got bored of track and field athletics," explains Tanel. "My specialties were 60 m, 800 m and high jump, but the exercises were repetitive, so in the end it became boring. On the other hand, football is much more diverse."
Although the young soccer player is a quiet and calm boy, there is a small secret quality in his character.
"He always wants to win. In the beginning it was difficult for him, he said that he would quit if the team wouldn't start winning. Fortunately, they have started winning now," his SOS mother reveals one of his secrets.
He hates cleaning
The boy is more serious than other boys his age
In football Tanel has won some recognition - two titles for best player of the team in recent competitions. "I'm a defender or midfielder. Thanks to track and field athletics, I'm fast and well-conditioned, and football is much more interesting than track and field."
"At the moment I have no further goals in football, but sometimes I play with the idea of becoming a professional footballer, but you never know what the future holds for you until you're there."
Although he only gets the best grades at school, there are some subjects he does not like so much. "Natural history and Estonian language classes are not among my favourite subjects, but I get good grades because I remember everything from the lessons, so I don't have to learn much at home."
Tanel is an intelligent boy who can say "no" to his friends when he has homework to do, and, unlike many modern youngsters, he loves to read.
His mother also praises the boy's habits at home. "He thinks that it's better to organise stuff at once than clean the mess later." The boys comment is plain and simple: "I hate cleaning!"
Do not give up
Hate or dislike, on the other hand, is no sufficient reason for Tanel to give up on things. When children from the village dubbed the film version of Astrid Lindgren's novel "The Children of Noisy Village" into Estonian, Tanel was among the three children who were chosen by the film company. "Dubbing Olle was difficult work. It was more like work rather than fun, but as I had started it, I wanted to finish it, too."
Not giving up is perhaps what the football coaches appreciate in the children from the village.
"Football is very popular at the village, and the local coaches are happy with our children," says Sirje. "When I spoke to Tanel's coach, he said to me: If there's anyone else there who plays football, please send them to me!" There are a lot of children at the village, so it's easy to form teams at any time, and the sports ground is excellent," she explains.
This is why it is not surprise that Tanel spends almost all his free time on the village's sports ground.