By: Matt Ankenbrandt, Lindenwood-Belleville Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Belleville, Ill. – Johan Sundberg has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for the Lindenwood University – Belleville men's soccer program, excelling on and off the field. In 2013, Sundberg has been given the opportunity to showcase his talents on the football field as well.
Sundberg was a member of the 2011 USCAA National Championship men's soccer program that finished the season 13-5-2, and defeated Briarcliffe College 2-1 in the national championship game. He played in a team-high 17 games that year. In 2012, Sundberg started in 13 of the 14 games that he participated in. Sundberg finished the season with three goals and three assists for a total of nine points.
This season Sundberg has helped the Lynx to a 4-2-2 record, starting in seven games, picking up one goal.
Sundberg has not only been able to showcase his soccer skills this season, but after given an opportunity to kick for the football team, has been able to excel on the gridiron as well. Head Football Coach Jeff Fisher could not be happier finding a reliable kicker in Sundberg, after he just showed up to practice one day.
"He literally just came out to practice one day, put the ball down and kicked a 65 yard field goal, with room to spare," stated Fisher. "He's not a typical 'kicker', he is big and athletic, and very efficient at what he does."
After the soccer game last Friday night where the Lynx took on the Eagles of Avila University, Sundberg did not have much time to recover before he had to report to walk through with the football team on Saturday. Sundberg and the Lynx had to get prepared for the Panthers of Kentucky Wesleyan. In Saturday night's game Sundberg was a perfect 7-7 on extra points.
This was not the first time that Sundberg had to go back and forth between the two sports. In his first collegiate start at place kicker the week prior against No. 17 St. Francis (Ill.), Johan had a Friday night game against Judson University, where he played 60 minutes. Then on Sunday Sundberg boarded the bus for a road game against William Woods University.
"It is obvious that he has kicked in pressure situations before and that is great for a place kicker in football," mentioned Fisher. "He is a competitive college athlete and he wants to win, I like that about him."
Having one of your top players playing a different sport can be tough on a coach, but Head Soccer Coach Dan Hogan believes this is a great opportunity for Sundberg, an experience most people do not get to experience.
"Johan kicking for the football team, while being a member of our soccer team represents the types of opportunities that currently exist for our student athletes at Lindenwood – Belleville," stated Hogan. "He has a strong left foot and I know the football team was eager to give him a chance."
Sundberg is a perfect 11-11 on point after attempts so far this season, after the team started 5-8 with three of those kicks getting blocked. Coach Hogan knows that this experience is one that Sundberg will remember for the rest of his life.
"Kicking for the football team while playing soccer will be an experience that he will never forget," stated Hogan.