Maria Karlsson: ‘My first week in Doncaster … ‘

I’ve now been in Doncaster for more than a week. It has been days full of new impressions and meetings with new people. I’ve switched from a house in Sweden to a hotel room in Doncaster, my family and friends to a new team with new teammates, snow to bare ground, Swedish to English and so on … a totally new situation and I really like it! The first days were a little bit confusing, but all the things here are just what I was searching for, a new challenge for me both on and of the pitch. Of course I miss my family and friends at home, but Skype helps a lot and tonight I celebrated my sister Anna’s birthday online.

The girls on the team are very kind to me and my ‘hotel friends,’ Aine from Ireland, Kylla from Canada, and Lauren from the U.S. (she’s here for a tryout) are really nice and helping me a lot be much better in English. When I’m here I really imagine how important the language is to connect people, and that it really is a key to the society. I think I just have to realize that it takes more than one week until the language flows.

A summary of the last days can sound like this: I’ve eaten Jacked potato with baked beans for the first time, the rating is OK. We’ve been to a military training/bootcamp with the team and did some team building, army training, and a lot of push-ups. I have watched the Swedish men’s national team in handball when they came in fourth place in the World Cup. I went to Birmingham as the senior
ambassador for our club and met ambassadors from the other seven teams. We had a really nice day with a lot of information and media training. Tomorrow we have our first friendly game, and I’m really looking forward to that. So far, so good in Doncaster…

The quote of this week: “You sound like IKEA when you speak” (Vicky Exley).

Three things I’ve learned since I came to England: 1. People are very nice and friendly here. 2. Almost nobody eats vegetables. 3. The FA has big plans for the WSL

Maria Karlsson is a defender for Doncaster Rovers Belles and the first Swedish international in the FA Women’s Super League.