Football i Sverige: From One National Pastime to Another

From a mere age of five, soccer (which will henceforth be referred to as “football” to maintain cultural legitimacy and correctness) has played a major role in my life. Though I ultimately chose to pursue my passion for baseball once it no longer became feasible to run back and forth between the two sports, the football scene in Sweden has proven to be an exciting one, one that has truly brought me back to my childhood.

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 2.57.24 PM.png
Young Reed preventing a shot on goal (picture courtesy of my parents)

During the past several months in Sweden, I have been able to not only practice with my host brother’s club team, Boo FF, and assist in coaching them during their weekend games, but I have also been able to squeeze in time to play with an Intramural team out of Stockholm University with other DIS students (most of whom are much more talented than I).

When we aren’t playing football at a nearby field, gymnasium, or backyard, we are usually either attending  a professional game at Tele 2 Arena, watching matches on television, or playing a game (or five) of FIFA.

Allsvenskan (The All-Swedish League)

Since I knew in advance that there would be few, if any, opportunities to play baseball in Sweden, the idea of picking up where I had left off with football and participating in Sweden’s most popular sport / national pastime genuinely sparked my interest. Additionally, the opportunity to follow and support a local sports team has made me feel even more at home.

Of the three Stockholm Football clubs I could have chosen from, I decided that it would be a wise choice to root for my host family’s favorite: Hammarby IF. While there are certainly those who would argue the claim, Hammarby has the largest fan base and truly is the people’s team. If you ever find yourself attending a derby, where cross-town rivals match up against each other, be advised that some people take football, and really any sport for that matter, extremely seriously. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to leave a few minutes early to avoid possible quarrels between opposing fans.

My host family’s favorite team, Hammarby IF, showing their team spirit against Djurgården


The first Stockholm Derby I attended between Djurgårdens IF and AIK


Djurgården & AIK fans show their support during a Stockholm derby

Tele 2 Arena hosts the home matches for Hammarby IF and Djurgårdens IF

Boo FF – Nacka

As I touched upon in a few of my previous posts, practicing with Boo FF on the weekdays and serving as a volunteer assistant coach alongside my host dad during their weekend matches has been a huge privilege for me. Even if everyone else is running circles around you, getting outside and kicking the ball around is always a good time! I would like to think that things would be a little different, though, if we were playing baseball instead.

It is extremely rewarding seeing the effort that the team puts in day in and day out pay off during their hard-fought matches. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed Boo FF’s progress this Fall and am grateful for the hospitality they have shown me during the last several months.

The official seal of Boo FF (år = years)


View of Simon’s game from the sidelines

Intramural League

During an activities fair at the beginning of the semester, a group of DIS students and I decided to join a local intramural football league at Stockholm University. Participating in this league with other students, mostly of whom are Swedish, has given us a great opportunity to both practice our Swedish and our agility/footwork at the same time!


Our indoor IM football court at Stockholm University; s/o to Caleigh for working hard


On a rainy afternoon or after a long day of classes, it is always fun to maintain a competitive spirit and play a few games of FIFA. Whether my host brother and I play to determine who will be doing dishes in the evening or my friends from DIS and I playing to settle a previous dispute, FIFA often serves as the ideal mediator. And if you need an extra reason to choose DIS Stockholm, they own a PS4 and a copy of FIFA16 in one of the student lounges!


Ryan and Julian playing a heated game of FIFA



Picture courtesy of


Heja Hammarby (Go Hammarby)!!




Leave a Reply