Duluth Area High School Soccer Players Sent to Sweden

Soccer Exchange gives Duluth students a taste of Swedish Culture.

DULUTH, Minn.- As part of a 22-year-program with Duluth’s sister city Vaxjo, Duluth-area high school soccer players headed to Sweden to play soccer, and be hosted by Swedish students.

They’ll spend 18 days experiencing Swedish culture, and of course, soccer.

On Tuesday students said goodbye to their families before hopping on the buses to MSP, where they’ll board a flight to Iceland, before flying to Denmark, before busing to Vaxjo.

Some of the coaches were students who have made the trip before. AJ Harris particiapted in the Duluth Vaxjo Soccer Exchange about two years ago, and he said he’s excited to help a new group have a great time.

“Other than lifelong friends. I got to experience, y’know, a foreign culture,” Harris said. He’s now the Assistant Coach for the Girls Youth 15 Team. Youth 15 teams haven’t yet gotten a Swedish Exchange Student assigned to them.

“I got to see hey, life really isn’t that different outside of the U.S. The landscape, the climate’s pretty similar, I got to see what soccer’s like around the world, which I thought was really cool.”

Of course Soccer will be a big part of the trip. The group will play in a tournament with their Swedish counterparts.

“So there’s a little bit of soccer playing, all the players obviously play soccer so they’ll bond with their Swedes over that,” he said. “Then they’ll go to an amusement park which is similar to Valley Fair, they’ll spend a lot of time just around, experiencing the culture, trying new foods.”

Many Duluth players are also excited to watch USA and Sweden play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, even though they might be rooting for a different side than their hosts.

“USA plays Sweden so I’m gonna watch it with him and some of my friends and their swedes and if, I’m guessing the U.S. is gonna win so ‘ll rub that in his face definitely,” said William Schaub, a player on the Boys Youth 16 Team.

Schaub hosted his Swede last year. The two have bonded since then.

“We go together really well. I got like my Swedish version of me, tall and thin, same personality and he knew a crazy amount of English, sometimes more than me,” he said.

“I mean we stayed in touch but it’s gonna be nice seeing him again.”

Registration is now open for the 2019-2020 year, where players born in 2004, 2005, and 2006 are invited to host and go to Vaxjo.

]2020 is a host year, and 2021 will be the travel year.

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