by Chipp Reid
In a sign of just how far Swedish women’s football has come, storied Stockholm side Djurgården has turned to one of the top coaches in the Damallsvenskan to lead its men’s side.
DIF signed Umeå IK boss Andree Jeglertz to a three-year deal to lead the men’s team. A two-time Damallsvenskan Coach of the Year, Jeglertz has never managed a high-level men’s team. He played just 25 games in the Allsvenskan for Malmö FF and Trelleborg in the 1990s and also played three times for the U-21 Swedish national team. Before going to Umeå in 2004, he coached Division 3 side Gimonas CK for one year.
Despite his relative lack of experience with the men’s game, Jeglertz said he is looking forward to the job.
“I've always been a guy who seeks new challenges and it is obviously hugely motivating to come to a club in the headlines,” Jeglertz said. “It will be very exciting to come to Djurgården. It is one of the most interesting assignments you can get in Swedish football.”
Djurgården, to offset Jeglertz’ inexperience, brought back former coach Zoran Lukic to act as co-trainer. Lukic worked with former DIF manager Sören Åkeby and was instrumental in restoring Djurgården to the top of Swedish football. DIF won the Allsvenskan in 2002 and 2003 and the Swedish Cup in 2002 under Lukic and Åkeby.
DIF General manager Göran Aral said the two coaches would have specific responsibilities, with Lukic concentrating on offense while Jeglertz works on defense and overall tactical schemes.
“Both coaches meet the requirements of experience and knowledge which we see as a prerequisite,” Aral said. “Both have indicated that they see a shared leadership as a very exciting working environment.”
Jeglertz said he doubts if the shared responsibilities would pose a problem.
“I am convinced that it will work fine,” he said. “We will work in a similar way as we have worked in UIK.”
Jeglertz also said he doubts he or Lukic would look to take on a dominating role.
“We are a little different in our personalities so it is important that we adapt to each other,” he said. “The idea isn’t to conform to one another but to balance.”
Jeglertz joins Djurgården after an impressive five-year run as Umeå manager. He won four-straight Swedish titles, including this year, and the Swedish Cup twice. He also led Umeå into the UEFA Women’s Cup, the female version of the Champions League, where UIK made the final three times, winning once.
Sources at Djurgården said it's Jeglertz’ success in Europe as well as his ability to meld veteran players with talented newcomers made him the first choice to lead the club after it fired Siggi Johansson and Paul Lindholm. Djurgården finished a disappointing 12th in the Allsvenskan this year.
Jeglertz, who is currently on vacation, said DIF contacted him just before he left and offered him the job. He said the decision to take the job was fairly easy to make.
“It feels sad to leave all the leaders and players who I have come to know so well and this is not the way I had hoped to leave them,” he said. “But sometimes it is like this. You have to be a little selfish sometimes, too.”
Although he must make a rapid transition from women’s to men’s football, Jeglertz said one area where he didn’t expect problems was in dealing with the media and fans’ expectations.
“Certainly, the press and fans have high demands on the club’s performance and its results,” Jeglertz said. “At the same time, I think we have had it in Umeå also, although maybe not in the same way, but I think Umeå prepared me to deal with it.”
While Jeglertz celebrated his new job, Umeå found itself without a manager. Jeglertz was under contract until 2010, although a clause in his deal allowed him to leave for a higher position. Umeå General Manager Britta Åkerlund said the women’s side would start its own search for a new coach immediately.
“This isn’t a problem that we expected, but we will do what have to,” Akerlund said. “I think it’s great that Andree is getting this chance and I wish him all the best of the luck.”
Djurgården said it expects Jeglertz and Lukic to begin work on Jan. 7.