Gothenburg to Thomasville via Fiorentina - Guest Blogger, Eric Persson
Eric Persson, from Gothenburg, Sweden, began his US collegiate career at NAIA powerhouse Thomas University, after playing for Qviding FIF in the Swedish First Division. Eric also had trials with Serie A club, Fiorentina. The "big swede" as he's affectionately known around the TU campus, progressed through to captain the team in his Junior year. Leading the Nighthawks to a number #1 national ranking in the NAIA, and a Sun Conference Championship. Hard work and having that champion mentality is something that comes naturally to Eric, as he earned many plaudits both on and off the field. His character and personality made him a huge hit in Thomasville.
"It was a bit hard coming to America as a foreigner. Not knowing the language and culture. However, I am over the moon I decided to study in the US and continue my soccer career. This was the best opportunity for me to combine them both. The transition into the team was very easy and normal. When you come to a place where everyone is like you, and wants to win, it is very easy to connect. During my time in college I have managed to know and meet many interesting people from all over the world, this has been the most valuable thing I am taking back to Sweden. I went to a pretty small university, however I liked that. The fact that you become a sort of ambassador for the school and soccer team in the community was very nice. Thinking back on the four years I spent in America I do not regret anything. It has genuinely been the best experience, and I can with confidence say that it has made me to the man I am today."
Eric graduated Thomas University in May 2016 with a bachelors degree in business with Summa Cum Laude honours. A brief spell in Miami, Florida to experience the working life followed. Now, back in his homeland of Sweden, Eric works as a consultant manager within a recruitment firm. He believes his experiences in the US have shaped him, and allowed him to progress into a growing career. Although he may have "hung up" the boots in the States, a return to the pitch is not out of the question for the 'Big Easy', as he looks to get back into the game in the not to distant future.