Maria Karlsson, who last week became the first Swedish international to sign with a team in the FA Women’s Super League (Doncaster Rovers Belles), has landed in England and checked in from Doncaster.
“First day in Doncaster as the first Swedish female football pro. Feels amazing, and I’m really excited of what Doncaster will show me. I’m right now at the hotel where I should stay under my year in this town in the mid-north of England. The flight last night from Gothenburg worked out with no problem, and one of the coaches picked me up at the airport in Manchester and drove me to Doncaster.
Already at the airport in Gothenburg I’d realize how much football connects people (and saved me money this time). I had about six kilos overweight and was a little bit worried about what the guy in the check-in desk would say about that. His first question to me was if something in my big Puma bag was fragile. I answered him that I had a lot of boots and training clothes. And then our conversation about football began. He knew my friend Lotta Schelin, he was a big Newcastle fan, he should follow Doncaster Rover Belles FC, and I’ve got my overweight for free! Thanks!
The first day in Doncaster has been intense and full with new impressions. I’ve met the coaches and my teammate and neighbor Anja (Aine O’Gorman), who’s a forward from Ireland. I’ve been training with a boys’ college team, and then went out eating with Anja and finally we went to a supermarket to buy some necessary things. I have to be very focused when it comes to the language, and I’m looking forward to that day when I feel like I can speak without losing words and when I can be ironic and joke without people looking strange at me.
It will be really exciting to be in the new Women’s Super Leauge, as it’s something totally new that I absolutely think will develop English female football, and I’m grateful that I’ll be a part of it. I’m also very proud that I’m going to be the first Scandinavian in the league, and hopefully more players from north of Europe will come after me in the future. The league will start in middle of April, but already on March 13th, we have the first competition game in the FA Cup. So I’m looking forward to the first training with my new team tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll start a journey to something really big…”