The Swedish taste of football

Defensive ends, Felix Olsson (90), right, and David Tameilau (99), left, finish their line drill warmups prior to the start of the first 2012 football season game versus, Diablo Valley College at Rams Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. Originally from Sweden, Ollson is fulfilling his dream of playing college football while playing for CCSF. Photo by James Fanucchi/The Guardsman
By Michael Hall
The Guardsman

Just three years ago, Sophomore Felix Olsson was attending school in Stockholm, Sweden. Now, he’s playing defensive end for a program that has won four national titles since 2000.In Sweden, Olsson played soccer his entire life until he fell in love with American Football and got support from his parents to travel out west.


This summer, Olsson enrolled at City College after attending his senior year of high school in Rigby, Idaho.


“I wasn’t recruited by coach Rush, or any other coach. I came here because I wanted to fulfill my dreams of playing college football,” Olsson said. “I made the choice to come here and try to make the team through hard work and dedication.


Olsson heard about the program through two Swedish athletes who played for head coach George Rush last season, which ended with a spectacular 11-1 finish.


Making the transition to a new country is never easy, but the former soccer player faced a whole new challenge — making the team.


“The workouts here are more intense than anything I’ve put myself through before,” Olsson said. “The game speed here is so much faster, and the coaches are really serious about the program.”


In a game like football, speed is king — a talent Olsson has because of his soccer experience.


However, playing defensive end would force Olsson to weigh at least 250 pounds, which is 80 pounds heavier than the average soccer player.


“I know the coaches won’t put me on the field if they don’t consider me ready for it,” Olsson said. “When the time comes, I will only be excited about having reached that level of quality in my performance.”


A roster spot is not the only gamble he took when he left Sweden.


“We have great educational programs in Sweden, and they’re free. Health care, college, etc. It’s all free in Sweden,” Olsson said.


City College’s football program is known as a hot spot for division one universities to recruit but Olsson is just fine with a football career at Boise State University, where he plans to transfer after City College.


But the dream to wear a Boise State uniform is only possible through impressive play, and Olsson has potential.


“He works extremely hard. His challenge is just playing at American speed,” Rush said. “Our international students always want to get coached. They’re like sponges and you can’t teach them enough.”


Olsson has more on the line than the average athlete because he traveled 5,400 miles to make his dream come true.


For a first year transfer student, Olsson seems to already have it down pat.


“I’ve already made some great friends here, and I can’t wait to get out there and play,” Olsson said.


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