One common language: Football!

​When it comes to football no matter the nationality or the language you speak, your skills with the ball will speak for you.

Before coming to Sweden, I had too many expectations of what the country and daily life would be like. In my home country, Mexico, not much is known about Sweden, only the typical image of a big Viking wearing a hat with horns and of course the football star Zlatan Ibrahimović.

At first, of course, I knew that the image of all Swedes wearing a hat with horns was not true, but I still doubted if people in Sweden would be as passionate to play football as we are in Mexico. It was such a nice surprise that since I arrived and took the bus from the airport to the city, I could already see football fields everywhere! 

During the welcome week at Chalmers, there was an event with all the student organisations looking for new students to become part of their team, and there I found the "FC Chalmers". They were having a competition of who can juggle the ball the most times, which I won! And also they were inviting everyone to join their open training, where everyone is welcome to train with them once a week. It was a really good experience training with people from different nationalities. Everyone had their own main playing style, some were faster and more skilled than others, so you have to be able to adapt to every style.  

I loved the idea of training with a team again, but the training with the Chalmers team ended when the winter began. Therefore, I started looking for people in the city to play with, even though I was worried that I do not speak Swedish well enough, especially because you have to communicate all the time in the field. However, I went to Heden (a large outdoor sports area which is located 10 minutes away from Chalmers), where there are five football fields in one place, a dream for a football fan like me. I found people casually playing, not in a formal way with uniforms and a referee. They were playing football to have fun which was exactly what I was looking for because I would not have the time to join a formal team. 

Surprisingly for me, it was like in Mexico, I just approached them and asked if I could join and they were happy to have another player. I did not even remember being concerned about the language, somehow, we understood each other in the field despite the fact that there were people who did not speak English or Swedish. And little by little I have learned some Swedish expressions to communicate within the field as "passa!" "skjut!" "tillbaka!" and "ensam!". These are basic words that mean pass the ball, shoot, get back and alone. When it comes to playing football that is all you really need. After that, I go to Heden every time I want to play, which is also a good opportunity to make new friends.

All in all, Swedes’ passion for football surprised me. I learned that it does not matter if you are playing 10 000 kilometres away from home or with people from different parts of the world, football unites us all without having to say a word. 

Page manager Published: Tue 25 Jun 2019.