Caroline Seger left the pro league in the U.S. after winning a title and now looks to guide Malmö to the gold as well.
[The interview with Caroline Seger was made prior to the game against Tyresö. Those that follow Swedish women's soccer closely will know that Malmö lost against the visiting team, 3-5 on Sept. 12. A disappointment for the returning Seger but making the final games of the series that much more interesting./Ed.]
As though a bronze medal in the World Cup and a gold in the WPS isn’t enough, Swedish national soccer team captain Caroline Seger has her eyes set on claiming gold in the Damallsvenskan.
Seger returned to the Swedish league after three seasons in the United States when she signed with league leaders LdB Malmö on Aug. 26. Seger had an opt-out clause with her American team that allowed her to terminate her contract if she signed with a team outside the U.S.
"I want to contribute to Malmö having a strong autumn season, hopefully ending with the Swedish championship title," said Seger.
The 26-year-old midfielder struggled through injuries to help lead Sweden to third place at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany in July. Her international duties limited her to just 12 games with the Western New York Flash of the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Seger had five goals for the flash and also scored in the penalty-kick shootout that decided the WPS title as the Flash defeated Seger’s former team, the Philadelphia Independence.
Seger had an immediate effect on the defending Swedish women’s champions as she scored in her Malmö debut Sept. 4 in a 2-0 win over Piteå IF before notching the winning goal Sept. 7 against Djurgården. DIF took a 1-0 lead after Renèe Slegers tallied 20 minutes into the contest. Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir tied the match in the 28th minute. Seger scored the game-winner at the 65-minute mark off a pass from Therese Sjögran, who also left WPS to return to Sweden.
The victory gave Malmö a six-point lead over Tyresö and Umeå IK, Malmo has 40 points from a 12-4-1 record. Tyresö and Umeå each has 34 points. Oddly, Seger will play for Tyresö next season. Malmö only signed the Swedish captain through the end of the 2011 season. Malmö played Tyresö at home Sept. 12.
“People are already giving us the gold medal but there are still five games to play,” Seger said. “There are a lot of points out there still to play for. We beat Djurgården. Now, our focus is on Tyresö.”
Seger enjoyed a successful career in the U.S. She led Philadelphia to one previous finals berth, where her team lost to Brazilian star Marta and Sky Blue FC. Privately, however, Seger was reportedly unhappy with the short length of the season as well as the actual quality of play. She also criticized the league for not shutting down during the World Cup. Unlike every league around the world, WPS continued to play matches during the World Cup, despite losing the bulk of its talent to the world championships.
Seger, who won the 2009 Diamond Ball as the top female footballer in Sweden, could be in line for her second such honor as she continues to shoot for her second title in the same year.Seger, however, discounts such talk, saying the two leagues are so fundamentally different that she doesn’t think one should affect the other.
“It’s really not the same at all,” she said. “It’s two different worlds. In WPS I am surrounded by all these international stars and I have a free role. Here, I can be more aggressive. I am a two-way player and I think you get more out of me when I can play that way, like we do in Malmo.”
Seger also dismissed talk of taking home another Diamond Ball, saying only, “It’s great to be back in Sweden.”
by Chipp Reid
Malmö midfielder Caroline Seger splits a pair of Piteå defenders to score the second goal in MFF's 2-0 win Sept. 4. It was Seger's first game back in the Damallsvenskan after three seasons in the U.S.