Caroline Seger is settling into life in the United States in more ways than one. The 26-year-old Swedish international and midfielder for the Swedish women’s national team recently landed in Rochester, New York, preparing for her upcoming Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) season with the expansion Western New York Flash. She’s also close to becoming a U.S. resident.
In addition to joining a new WPS team – she played for the Philadelphia Independence in 2010 – Seger is awaiting her Green card, which gives foreigners permanent residency in the United States. It authorizes individuals to both live and work in the U.S.
“This is really good for me,” Seger said prior to heading into a training session Tuesday morning with the Flash. “I had only been to the U.S. once (prior to joining the Independence), and it was six years ago when I went on vacation in New York. It’s such a big country, and I’ve been treated very well. I like it. There’s a lot to do. It’s like a new experience. I like it.”
Her vacation to New York six years ago was brief. Her first extended stay in the states came when she arrived in Philadelphia in 2010 at the NSCAA Convention. Last year with the expansion Philadelphia Independence, Seger started 20 of the 21 games she played in (including postseason), scored two goals and had five assists, was named to the WPS All-Star team, and scored a crucial goal against the Boston Breakers to help the Independence advance to the WPS Championship. She earned Player of the Week honors in late July, tying the WPS record for assists in a game (three). Seger said the Philadelphia organization helped her begin the process of obtaining U.S. residency.
“Philly played a big part in it,” she said. “They started it almost directly since I got to Philly. I had good people working with me.”
Seger has filled out the necessary paperwork and recently got fingerprinted. She’s now awaiting her Green card, which will also help her when she travels.
“For me, I can go in and out of this country and not have to stand in line when flying because I’m obviously not an international player anymore,” Seger said. “It’s really good for me.”
Seger’s first season with the Flash begins when her team travels to Boston to take on the Breakers on Sunday, April 17, at Harvard Stadium. Despite suffering a recent injury, Seger should be ready to go come April 17. She recently got back out onto the pitch, and she played 60 minutes in a preseason scrimmage for the Flash. She’s looking forward to the start of the season with her new team.
“So far, so good,” Seger said of her time with the Flash. “I really like them. It’s a young roster, but they’re very talented. I’ve been progressing (with my rehab). We have had good talks with trainers. Everything looks positive. It’s a different situation for me because back in Sweden, we’re playing for 10 months straight, and I couldn’t play. It’s been hard for me mentally.”
The Flash boasts one of the strongest rosters in WPS, one that includes five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta and Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. Seger said it’s just a matter of forming a cohesiveness before the Flash reaches their maximum potential.
“We have a really good team. We have good players at every position,” Seger said. “If we get everything together, we are going to improve as a team. If the coach (Aaran Lines) can bring us together, I think we’ll be near the top. It’s always about team chemistry.”