‘What is it like playing football?’, is a question I get asked on a daily basis.
I can tell you now that it is nothing short of an amazing experience in many ways. It has been a busy yet exciting couple of months for myself relocating from England to Sweden. This is the first time I have experience living in a country where English is not the first spoken language, however, what I didn’t know until I arrived here was that anywhere you travel throughout Sweden, speaking English is second nature to Swedes.
When my time at Millwall came to an end, I was a little disheartened, but I knew in my mind when one door closes another one opens, and that’s exactly what happened. Football can be a very spontaneous game in how you can be in one place settled and playing, and before you know it you are moving countries having to adapt to a totally new environment. At times it can be stressful but at the end of the day, it’s all an experience and part of a journey for me. I have begun to enjoy the moment and focus on where I currently am.
My current club Hassleholm IF (HIF).
Hassleholm is an hour and a half drive from Malmo in the south of Sweden and what I love is that it’s only two hours away from my favourite city in the world, Copenhagen. Hassleholm IF is a division two club where we play in a conference across the south of Sweden.
In my time here so far in Sweden, I have been introduced to a new culture in. When I first arrived at my new club Hassleholm IF, I was afraid of not being able to speak Swedish and getting to know my teammates, but that was never the case. Some know English better than others but everyone is very welcoming and my Swedish is slowly beginning to improve. Swedes have a love for coffee just like Australians do, if not a little more. After training on Thursdays, it is part of their week, heading to the coffee shop and spending time together as a team, it’s called a ‘fika’ or as we know it as a catch up coffee.
As I mentioned before, this club has a different feeling to my previous clubs is something I have found different is having two head coaches and one assistant. Normally it would be the other way around with two assistants or even just one. It took a little getting used to but both of them have helped me in understanding the game, working on the technical side of my game and also learning small amounts of Swedish along the way.
Adapting to the Swedish style of play hasn’t been too difficult because it is a combination of both Australian and English style of football. It has the technical focus of what Australian football is building and what I learned at the Newcastle Jets, but it also has the physical side of the game which I very quickly discovered in England playing at Millwall.
Being in a country like Sweden I think has taught me so much in a small amount of time. My time away from home has had its ups and downs but that comes along with everyone’s journey. For me, it is about focusing on my daily routine and how I can improve my football both physically and mentally while enjoying the journey.