Defending goals across the globe: Swedish soccer player brings diversity to team

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Zach Smith, Staff Writer

John Sigfridsson, a freshman goalkeeper for the Men’s Soccer team, finds himself in a completely different situation at Florida Southern than he has experienced in years past.

Sigfridsson, native to Sweden, finds himself in a completely new country nearly five thousand miles away from home, alone, with no friends or family. It is also worth noting that he has moved from an extremely chilly nation to the heat of Florida, a difficult contrast in climate to undergo from a sports perspective.

Currently the backup to starting goalkeeper and captain Cole Clingerman, Sigfridsson is not in the starting role he has been used to for much of his youth soccer career.  However, regardless of Sigfridsson’s playing time, it does not trouble the young Swede. For Sigfridsson, it isn’t all about playing the game; it is about being the best teammate he can be.

“Everyone can fulfill their role even if they are not getting a ton a minutes. Right now I am just focusing on being a good teammate and putting my work in at practice,” Sigfridsson said.

Coach Ryan Sniegoski sees Sigfridsson as a bright young man that has nowhere to go but up.

“John is a great kid. He is a very good teammate, loyal to the guys, gets along with everybody, and works hard as a goalkeeper,” Sniegoski said.

Assistant Coach Ashley Holmes also noted nothing but positive things regarding John and his positive attitude on and off the field.

“He is probably the friendliest kid that I’ve ever met. He is so polite, so nice. He is working really hard to improve his game. He’s definitely got the opportunity to make some big saves for us in the future,” Holmes said.

This undying loyalty to the team Sigfridsson possesses stems from his passion and heavy soccer background. Sigfridsson’s father Ulf played collegiate soccer for the University of Oregon and his brother also played at the youth level in Sweden. His family always seemed to have John around the game.

“Growing up, there was always soccer on the television. I’ve been kicking a ball since I could walk. For me, it all came very naturally,” Sigfridsson said.

For Sigfridsson, a big component in his growing passion for soccer as a youth was his brother, Tom. Taking similar interests in sports, the pair of brothers constantly found themselves competing a high level with one another and found their true calling in soccer.

“As much as I hate losing against him, he is probably my best friend and we have spurred each other to continue on with soccer,” Sigfridsson said.

In Sweden, Sigfridsson played his youth soccer for Sweden’s largest soccer club, IF Brommapojkarna, Europe’s largest producer of youth players. Following his time at the big club, John made his transition into the professional level, playing for the fourth division Swedish side Ängby IF, where he helped the team finish second to reach a playoff for promotion to Division three.

As Sigfridsson now makes the transition to the United States, he is finding that the style of play is drastically different.

“The style of play in America differs from the Swedish game most in the sense that it is more physical and a bit more direct. On the technical level, it is pretty similar, but you play more tactical in Sweden,” Sigfridsson said.

Sigfridsson will look to press on and win the starting goalkeeper job over the next three years and Sniegoski believes the sky is the limit for the Swedish shot-stopper.

“He has a lot of potential and a high ceiling and we’re looking forward to seeing him get there in the upcoming years,” Sniegoski said.

Sigfridsson can be seen in action Oct. 17 when the Mocs take on the Panthers at Florida Tech in Melbourne and on Oct. 24 when St. Leo visits FSC.