Up North: Duluth and Swedish Youth Celebrate 20th Year of the Duluth Vaxjo Soccer Exchange

Eyewitness Sports
Updated: June 27, 2018 11:03 PM

The entire world is rooting for their various countries in this year's World Cup. However, Swedish youth soccer players have made their way across the pond to Duluth for the 20th year of the Duluth Vaxjo Soccer Exchange (DVSE).

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"It's a commonplace for the kids. They all love soccer and play soccer-it's a way to start a conversation," said DVSE President Alicia Dahlin.

The two-year exchange program involves athletes at the U15 and U16 levels from the Duluth area and from Vaxjo, Sweden. Players will travel one year and host the other. The exchange lasts for about three weeks as players get to live, eat, and learn how each country does things differently, even when it comes to playing soccer.

"I feel like we're more physical up here," said Grace Thorton comparing soccer in the U.S. to soccer in Sweden. Over there you don't have to wait on the sideline to get subbed in and I like that a lot," she added.

"They do a lot of techniques differently like they'll always be checking their shoulder. They'll always be looking down at their feet to see where they can move the ball," said Jack Worley talking about the differences between the youth players from Sweden. "They're a lot more technical."

Although soccer is the foundation of the exchange program they also focus on the cultural exchange aspect.

"We look different than Sweden, we sound different than Sweden, so just all those things are great for the kids to learn," said Dahlin.

What were some of the Swedish players first impressions of Duluth?

"There's a big lake," said Vaxjo native Erik Ivarsson. "In Sweden, we don't have the big lakes.

"It was cool to see like to see all the different stores that you've seen on the Internet and see them in real life," Sweden player Alfi Hedstig added.

Taking place near the end of June and in early July, the exchange also includes a taste of American and Swedish holidays. Las year, the Americans got to experience Midsummer.

"It's a Swedish tradition where you dance around a tree and you celebrating the summer," said Ivarsson.

This year, the Swedish will get to experience the Fourth of July.

For more one the Duluth Vaxjo Soccer Exchange visit the website here:


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