Marquette Wire

Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

Freshman+Lukas+Sunesson+tosses+a+ball+to+the+crowd+before+the+start+of+the+team%27s+home+opener+against+Valparaiso+Aug.+26.
Freshman Lukas Sunesson tosses a ball to the crowd before the start of the team's home opener against Valparaiso Aug. 26.

Freshman Lukas Sunesson tosses a ball to the crowd before the start of the team's home opener against Valparaiso Aug. 26.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Freshman Lukas Sunesson tosses a ball to the crowd before the start of the team's home opener against Valparaiso Aug. 26.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Marquette men’s soccer had an incredible start to the 2018 season, but the person leading the surge was not even in this hemisphere when Marquette previously played.

Freshman and Sweden native Lukas Sunesson led the Golden Eagles to their first 2-0 start since 2012. The forward scored two of Marquette’s three goals in their 3-1 win against Valparaiso Aug. 26 and scored again against Central Arkansas Aug. 30.

Sunesson was also one of four Marquette players to bag a goal in the team’s 4-0 rout against Central Arkansas. His pace and finishing ability are things teammates appreciate and admire. Sunesson has not only adjusted to playing well with his team in his first year, but has had to adjust to living in the United States.

Sunesson played for the Swedish second division team IK Frej. There, he was playing alongside men ranging in age from late teens to early 30s. Although he said he enjoyed his time at IK Frej, Sunesson was not able to get the high level of education he desired.

“In Sweden, it’s so hard to combine studying and playing soccer on a high level,” Sunesson said. “It’s almost impossible. But (the United States) is the best of both worlds: having school and soccer in the same place, both at a very high level.”

Sunesson said that in Sweden, schools have no affiliation with sports teams. If someone wanted to play soccer, he or she would have to be on a club team, which has no relation to an educational institution.

Sunesson’s desire to get an education and play soccer at a high level was what head coach Louis Bennett was offering him when recruiting him.

“One of our old coaches was in Sweden, and I had a history with bringing Swedish players over here,” Bennett said. “We knew we needed a point forward that had pace, so we asked around and fortunately Matt Pyzdrowski, who was also a Marquette goalkeeper, is professional in Sweden (and) recommended Lukas to me.”

Once seeing Sunesson on film, Bennett said he felt it was necessary to meet him and his family. Bennett said he likes to bring in new recruits during January, so they can acclimate to Marquette. Sunesson said he wanted to finish his final fall season with his club before he came to Milwaukee, therefore joining the Golden Eagles in the spring season.

“That spring three months, he might not have played his best soccer,” Bennett said. “But he began to acclimate and understand what being a student-athlete is about and making the shoes that he was given fit for him, academically, socially and also on the soccer field.”

One of the adjustments Sunesson had to make off the pitch was in regards to culture. Anyone would expect differences in people when crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and Sunesson said he experienced that.

He said that the biggest difference from Sweden to the U.S. is that people are friendlier. Swedes tend to keep to themselves if they aren’t familiar with another person, Sunesson said.

“(In Sweden) we would never sit next to someone on the bus; you always have an empty seat next to you,” Sunesson said. “Here in the States you’re always like, ‘Oh how’s it going?’ even when you are going to buy something at Walgreens.”

Even though Sunesson was in a foreign country with different ideas and ways of life, he was able to lean on his new teammates for support. They welcomed him into the program, and that helped him ease into his new home.

“It’s always hard to get into a new place and try to perform right away, but with the friendly guys on the team and the coaches, it makes it easier,” Sunesson said. “If you can feel confident about what you can do, which I felt right away because everyone was so nice, that helps make it easier.”

Sunesson and Bennett are both from foreign countries. Bennett is from Great Britain, so he knows what it is like for Sunesson to be thousands of miles away from home.

“Because you’re from somewhere else we can understand sometimes the hidden pain that you didn’t think you would have about being homesick and not getting the food you want,” Bennett said.

The friendliness and hospitality Sunesson has encountered has helped him in his transition off the pitch. While he continues to adjust to the United States, other teams will have to start adjusting to him in the film room.

With just over 70 percent of all of his shots being on target, along with having the most goals on the team, it would be a mistake for any opposing team to not key in on the Swedish forward.

“I’m going to keep working hard and (being) smart,” Sunesson said. “(I’m going to) keep doing everything I can in practice and in the next game and work together with my teammates, the coaching staff, keep doing our thing, playing our way.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer cannot handle overwhelming Seton Hall attack, falls 2-0

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer falls to UWM 2-1 at Valley Fields

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Former men’s soccer coach Steve Adlard passes away

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Diego Nunez plays integral part of men’s soccer on and off the field

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Balanced offense helps men’s soccer upset No. 13 Villanova

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer offense shows improvement in 2018

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer loses third straight at Michigan

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer suffers second loss of 2018 to Penn

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Men’s soccer suffers first loss of 2018 to Saint Louis

  • Lukas Sunesson bursts into the Valley after migrating from Sweden

    Men's Soccer

    Barraza shutout fuels men’s soccer’s win over Central Arkansas