- One of the new faces in Red Bulls camp this year is defender Markus Holgersson, who signed with New York on Jan. 12 after a successful stint with Swedish Allsvenskan side, Helsingborg. The 26-year-old central defender, recently coming off his first Swedish National Team call-up and debut, caught up with us after Friday morning’s practice for a quick Q&A.
How did the move come about?
MH: I was contacted by Erik Soler and there was a meeting and so on. After that, it came together fast. It was nice that he talked to me and I think New York has a great team and is a great city. It was a good choice I think.
What did you know before about American soccer and MLS?
MH: Not so much before I met Erik. But he told me a lot and I asked some other guys who have been here and now I know more.
For fans who are not familiar with you, talk about what type of player you are.
MH: I’m a central defender who wants read the game and make sure that I’m in the right position so I can win the ball that way. I (also provide) a lot of talking and leadership to get the line of the defense organized.
What attracted you to coming to New York?
MH: First, it’s a good league. I think it’s a little bit better than the Swedish League. There are really good players here – you see Henry, Beckham and Rafa Marquez playing. Second, it’s the adventure. I like to travel and see a lot, so I think it’s going to personally be very good.
You were recently called up for your first Swedish National Team camp and earned your first cap (Jan. 23, 2012 in a 5-0 over Qatar). What was that experience like for you?
MH: That was really exciting, really nice to even have one game. I think it’s really nice too for the Swedish team so I really enjoyed it.
There are several Scandinavians on the team. Has that made it easier for you to adjust?
MH: It’s much easier. Hans (Backe) is from Sweden and I talk a lot with [Norwegian Jan Gunnar] Solli and the other guys, so it’s must easier to come in. But the other guys are always open and talk a lot, so I think it’s easy to come into this team.
How’s Solli as a roommate so far?
MH: (Laughs) He’s a little bit crazy but he’s fun.