Meet ESK part 2: Midfielders and Strikers
Rasmus Fries (1992) – Winger/Left Back. I’ve included Rasmus as a midfielder, but he splits time between winger and outside back. Rasmus is one of the fastest guys on the team, along with me and Heradi. I know nothing about his personal life, except that he lives in a really small town about 20 minutes from Enkoping.
Tom Noden (1989) – Our captain. Center Mid. Tom is a very level-headed guy, even though this picture makes him look like a serial killer. He gets along with everyone and works hard everyday. He’s not your typical captain, meaning he isn’t a very vocal guy, but he sets more of an example. I think his young age might have something to do with that. Nobody wants to hear a 22-year-old telling them what to do, even if you’re 17- or 18-years-old. He’s the right choice as the captain though. He does a good job. He’s spent a few games as a right back as well.
Linus Bylin (1990) – Center Mid. For me, Linus and Tom are linked in my head. For every preseason game and the first couple regular season games, they played next to each other in the middle of midfield. Linus has been on the A-team for ESK for five years, making him the elder statesman of the team even though he’s only 21 or 22. In fact, Linus is the only person other than the front office staff that has a key to the locker room.
Kerim Mrabti (1994) – Center Mid/Winger. The baby of the team. Kerim is freaking 17-years-old and one of our best players. He, like Gustaf and Kevin (and maybe Joel), is still in high school. He’s another winger and has started every game. He’s a local kid and has played his whole career with ESK from the time he was a little kid.
Alex Persson-Njie (1991) – Center Mid. Another local talent. I don’t know where he spent his entire youth career, but I know that he did play for a time with the youth teams of ESK before signing for the A-team. He played a big role in the promotion last season, but hasn’t played as much this year. Even though he lives in Enkoping, I rarely see Alex in the town.
Emil Strok (1986) – Center Mid. Emil is a player that I first met on the Turkey trip. He’s kind of a strange player; sometimes he can’t trap a ball, other times he’s a midfield maestro. We get along well, but he’s pretty quiet and doesn’t say too much. He lives in Enkoping and I see him occasionally, but we don’t really hangout outside of training.
Mtaka Simba (1986) – Center Mid/Winger. Mtaka is one of the guys who has played 3-4 positions this year. He prefers to play as a center mid though. Mtaka is one of my closest friends on the team, in part because we were roommates in Turkey and we play the same position so we train together quite often. He lives in Balsta, the biggest town between Enkoping and Stockholm. Also, he is the older brother of Heradi.
Ernesto Ferreira (1980) – Attacking Mid. ‘Nesto’ as he’s called, signed with us on the last possible day. He hadn’t trained with us at all at that point, but he did play with ESK last year. Ernesto is originally from Portugal and he played there for Boavista. He’s been in Sweden six years now because he has a girlfriend here (or actually in Uppsala, about 30 minutes to the northeast), but he doesn’t speak a word of Swedish haha. Ernesto and I agree on a lot of things soccer-wise, so we get along quite well. We also both hate the cold weather, so that bonds us a bit.
Daniel Alund (1992) – Attacking Mid. One of my best friends on the team along with Robert (and Fabian, though he’s not exactly on the team). I’ve already profiled him so this will be a recap. He went to Holland at 15 to play for the youth and reserve teams at Feyenord. He also had trials at Manchester United and Fulham among other clubs. He trained with AIK, the biggest club in Sweden, last year and is still being tracked by them.
Alexander Alan (1985) – Attacking Mid. He goes by his last name ‘Alan’ and is one of my favorite guys on the team, even if I don’t see him much outside of training. I feel like I’ve known Alan for years, but that’s mostly because he looks exactly like a guy I went to college with. I mean an uncanny resemblance. Alan reminds me a lot of the typical USL guy, meaning he doesn’t really harbor grand dreams about being a star in Allsvenskan, but instead has staked out a little niche in Division 1 and is happy there. He, like most of the players on our team, has a day job so soccer is more of a fun thing to do than a livelihood. That’s not to say that he or USL guys don’t take their job seriously or professionally, it just means that they have other, sometimes greater, priorities.
Joel Rajalakso (1993) – Pronounced ‘Euell’, Joel is another young guy. I’m not sure if he’s still in high school or not. Last season he scored 14 goals in Division 2, a very impressive total considering the season was only 26 games. He has a brother playing in Allsvenskan for Djugarden. His brother is a winger, so I can’t imagine that the brothers’ playing styles are too similar. Joel is what a call a ruthless striker. He’s hellbent on scoring goals and often does. It would be interesting to see him play side-by-side with Erik, but we’ll see if that happens.
Erik Andersson (1987) – Erik is your prototypical striker. Big, strong, good in the air and reasonably fast, he has all the attributes most coaches look for in a striker. In fact, with him being 24-25 I’m surprised no Allsvenskan team has come for his signature. I know for a fact that half the teams in MLS would be willing to pay good money to have him in their team. I’ve never asked him about why he’s stayed in the lower divisions, but I assume it’s just lack of opportunity. Maybe in that way Sweden doesn’t differ all that much from America.
There you have it, the playing squad for ESK. We don’t have any points, but we have plenty of character! Hopefully we get some points though because this is starting to get depressing. The game is tomorrow so hopefully I have some good news to report in my next post!