By: Chris Czachor, student journalist
At first glimpse, it would be hard to tell that there is anything unusual about Martin Lidholm and Oskar Johansson Quartieri. Like many other students, they both came to Husson to play sports and to get a good education. However, it is their path to Husson that was much different than most others. Lidholm and Johansson Quartieri are both from Sweden.
Lidholm lived in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, until he was 19 and decided to come to America to study abroad. He has a brother that is two years older than him who had gone to study in Ireland, so Martin decided to try something new for himself. Lidholm wanted an opportunity to further his education after high school while playing soccer, and coming to an American college provided the perfect opportunity to do that. He contacted an organization in Sweden that provides students with three colleges to choose from based off of the students listed preferences. This is not much different than the experience of an American student searching for the right place to study during their college years. Of his three choices, Lidholm got the best impression from Husson. Almost two years have passed since then, but Lidholm still thinks that Husson is the right fit for him.
“Based off of the amount of friends I have made and the experiences I have had, I feel that I made the right choice,” said Lidholm.
Lidholm does not deny that one of the main reasons that he came to Husson was to play soccer. His whole family is crazy about the game. He went to his first soccer game when he was four to watch his favorite team, AIK play. He says that this experience was not like most children’s first game.
“Usually if you bring a child to a soccer game, you have to pay a lot of attention to them because they are not all that interested in the game. My dad tells me that I just sat down and watched the game,” said Lidholm.
Shortly after, Lidholm started playing soccer at the age of six and he instantly fell in love. He played for a local team in Stockholm from age six to seventeen. He played his last two years in Sweden on another team. He also got to go to a Manchester United soccer camp when he was eighteen years old. Lidholm says that other than his favorite Swedish team, AIK, Manchester United is his favorite.
“I started supporting them in 2001 when my father bought me a David Beckham shirt,” Said Lidholm. “Ever since then I have supported them.”
Despite the fact that Manchester United plays in England, Lidholm has been able to attend four of the teams game in his life. His favorite current player, Wayne Rooney, has been with the club for 12 years. Lidholm admires his style of play.
“He’s got a playing style that I really like. He is a fighter, and he would do anything for his team. These are the kind of things you want to see as a fan,” said Lidholm.
Lidholm is a Right Back on the Husson soccer team. He appeared in 14 games in the 2015 season, starting in 12 of them. The Eagles went 8-6-2 this season, with their season coming to an end after a heartbreaking penalty kick loss against New England College in the NAC quarterfinals.
Obviously, there are some differences between living America and living in Sweden. Lidholm has noticed that people are more outgoing and talkative in America, whereas in Sweden people are more reserved and private.
“When you meet someone in the U.S, people are a lot more open minded and curious. In Sweden we usually like to stick to the people we know. It was surprising at first, but it made it easy to meet new people quickly,” said Lidholm.
Although there are differences, Lidholm says that there are many similarities due to western culture. He says that Swedish and American people both eat the same types of food. They also have similar TV shows and music in Sweden.
Being in another country is something that Lidholm is very used to. He has also traveled to Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, England and Ireland. He had also been to America before he came to Husson, when he visited New York, Boston, and Niagra Falls with his parents and older brother. His favorite countries that he is traveled to are Italy and England because of the massive soccer culture that exists in those countries.
Oskar Johansson Quartieri also spent most of his life living in Stockholm before moving one hour north to a town called Norrtalje. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, with a population of about 900,000 people. That number is expected to increase in coming years, as Stockholm is considered to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It was established as a city in 1252 and is located on the south central east coast of Sweden. It’s climate is very similar to that of New England’s, which probably made Johansson Quartieri and Lidholm’s transition to Maine a little easier. Although they are used to cold weather, they both told me that they would like to visit Florida at some point before they return to Sweden.
Like Lidholm, Johansson Quartieri is a huge soccer fan. The opportunity to play soccer while getting a college degree was also a contributing factor in his decision to come to Husson. He started playing soccer when he was twelve years old, but liked to watch before then. In Sweden, he played for two clubs. He started off with BKV Norrtalje, then played for Roslagsbro IF before coming to America. He hoped to play soccer when he arrived at Husson, but a history of ankle injuries and surgeries brought an end to his playing career. Despite this misfortune, soccer is still a key component of Johansson Quartieri’s life.
“It is important to me because I like to Watch it on TV, play it, and its a great social thing to get friends. Winning as a team is the best feeling,” said Johansson Quartieri.
Wayne Rooney is also one of Johansson Quartieri’s favorite players. the others are Mesut Ozil, a player for Arsenal, and Garreth Bale, who spent much of his career with one of Johansson Quartieri’s favorite teams, Tottenham Hotspur. Bale now plays for the Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.
Another trait that these two students share is that they enjoy traveling. Johansson Quartieri has been to Thailand, Brazil, England, Finland, Italy, Austria, and Greece. He said that one thing that is nice about Europe is how easy it is to travel to different countries. He told me that one of his favorite places in America that he has visited was Los Angeles when he went during Spring break last year.
“That place had everything,” said Johansson Quartieri.
Some differences that he has noticed while living in America are the huge food portions, and the way of transportation. He says people do not drive everywhere in Sweden.
“In Sweden you don’t have to take you’re car to go somewhere, places are not as spread out as in America,” said Johansson Quartieri.
Despite the differences that these two have encountered in their time here in America, both have fit in well. Similarities like the love of sports and a desire for social interaction have helped them acclimate well in the Husson University community.