By John E Rojas – @jrojasa75
San Jose Earthquakes secured with Joel Qwiberg (25 years old), a speedy left back with almost seven years as professional, a great deal of leadership, clear convictions and an internal fire with a big South American dream.
“I’m a team player; I work hard, very hard. I think I’m good taking the set pieces with a natural left foot”, said Qwiberg on a conversation through voice messages that took about two days, in order to surf his career and personal story.
He is coming to MLS in the midst of a few offers from big clubs in Sweden and at least one more European team, and after playing more than 50 games for a club that is consider in his country as ‘The Ajax’ of Sweden.
IF Brommapojkarna is the name of the club, well known for his vast academy. Records show that the club had 247 teams in different divisions and categories involving 3,000 players (men and women) in 2017.
“Some things were important to me when I was thinking about my next choice, but one of them is that it’s well known by now the professionalism in MLS, the facilities and the fact that as players we only have to take care of training well and perform well in games”. That’s part of the reasons why Joel is leaving his home country and Europe for United States.
For many, the fact that the new Quakes’ coach is Swedish, could be the perfect explanation for this move, and even some would think that Mikael Stahre, the new boss, brought Qwiberg into his project. However, the player explained it differently.
“No, I don’t know personally Mikael Stahre, of course I know who he is and the big reputation that he has here in Sweden. But as far as I know, San Jose has been scouting me for a long period. I love what Jesse Fioranelli explained me about the project”.
Life is more than soccer
Another factor that motivated Qwiberg to come has more to be with his personal story and his big South American dream. “When I think of my idea of progress in my game, and what I want to do out of the field, San Jose is the best place for me to be”, he said.
Qwiberg had spells with the Swedish National Team Under 17 and Under 19. However, his real dream is to play for the Colombian National Team.
Yes! You are reading it right. It can be dream difficult to become reality, but Qwiberg has at lease the passport and the blood to begin with.
“I was adopted when I was 6 months old and I can’t even remember when I was told about it. Is something that I’ve always known about.” Said Qwiberg, who was born in Colombia and has never set a foot in the South American country since his adoption.
A military father and a teacher mother, plus a younger sister who is a biological daughter of his adoptive parents, makes Joel’s Swedish family. “I never had a problem with being adopted; I had a fantastic life as a kid. But I consider myself a Colombian living in Sweden”.
Joel has a big tattoo on his chest that reads “Colombia”, and another in his right arm that reads “Santa Fe de Bogota” referring to the city that he was born in.
“Living in California will help me to learn Spanish with some teammates and the Latino community in San José, on top of being closer to Colombia than from here in Sweden”.
Qwiberg said that he had the plan to fly to Bogotá this December, but after closing the transfer with San Jose, the time to get things sort out and be ready to move to California made the trip complicated and decided to put a halt on the plan.
He is not actively looking for his biological family right now, but does not dismiss the idea of start doing it at some point.
“I’m really proud of my roots and every time I say that I’m Colombian, people make jokes and all that. For me that is not a problem. I’m proud of where I’m coming from”, he said.
Of course being public about his dream of playing for the Colombian National Team may affect his chances with the Swedish National Team, nevertheless Joel insists that this decision is part of who he is.
“You have to be honest with yourself and let’s say – just a thought- that I have the opportunity to play for both national teams and I have to take the decision. I will go with Colombia because that is what my heart is asking me to do”.
While his dreams of getting closer to his roots could be easier living in San Jose, Qwiberg’s determination and focus is with the Quakes, “I want to do great for them, play on a full Avaya Stadium and be of great help for the team”.