SEATTLE - MAY 25: Brek Shea #20 of FC Dallas battles Erik Friberg #8 of the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field on May 25, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
When Erik Friberg arrived to play for the Seattle Sounders there was internet babble about him being a CAM or Classic #10, and while he hasn't been the next Carlos Valderrama, what he has shown is the ability to push the through ball forward into the attacking third fairly effectively from any part of the pitch, as he's played on the left, right and centrally. His English has improved, as well as his understanding of the league and his teammates.
It is a little bit the same as Sweden, but a little bit hard. There's a lot of physical stuff, and a little faster from goal to goal. I think I'm getting better and better. I had my foot thing for a couple of weeks, but it's getting better. I think I had some good times in the last game.
SaH: How has developing a relationship with your teammates gone?
Friberg: From the beginning everyone has been friendly, they've helped me with everything. Of course, I hang around with a lot of guys outside of soccer too. That's important for our success, to have a good time. I'm happy so far. I can always get better.
SaH: You've played on the left, the middle, the right...
Friberg: Of course as a player you want to be on the field, that's better than having a specific place - on the right or on the middle. There's not many games where I've played the same. You want to be on the field, and healthy. I hope to play more soon.
SaH: Sweden doesn't have quite the travel that the US does how does that change things?
Friberg: That's a little hard. Not the five hour flight, but the three hour time difference that's a little hard. An hour flight, or an hour bus, or a few hours, that doesn't matter. The time changes take a while get use to, not difficult, but harder than the travel.
Sweden's furthest travel would be an8 hour bus ride, or a bare two hour flight, and the nation is all in one time zone. Friberg's last team there plays in a city with three teams. The league itself basically exists in a the lower third of the geographic area of Sweden, and a few other metro areas have multiple teams as well. The Allsvenskan is in some ways more like an East coast college sports league, than the way Americans think of a national sport.
It leaves me to wonder about time changes as the league continues to grow, and how the international players get used to travel and its effects.