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‘A fantastic route’: How Syracuse benefits from Scandinavia-to-US college soccer movement – The Daily Orange


A city 243 miles north of Oslo, Norway, opened a brand new realm of Syracuse males’s soccer recruiting. In 2012, Ian McIntyre hung out in Trondheim, Norway, making house visits and sitting on sidelines in frigid chilly temperatures that dropped close to -Four levels Fahrenheit.

“Those guys are far tougher than we are,” McIntyre joked of the chilly.

Between tiny airports and a cross-nation journey in his automotive, McIntyre spent “the coldest night of my life” alongside Kim Moe Krohn, watching Oyvind Alseth practice at 11 p.m. Alseth, a part of a 2013 class which included SU’s first two Norwegian gamers ever, had labored with Krohn to assist discover a method to a United States college.

Krohn is the co-founding father of College Scholarships USA, an Oslo and United Kingdom-based mostly firm predicated on discovering Scandinavian and U.Okay.-based recruits a path to U.S. schools. The firm has grown tremendously since its delivery in 2007 as a U.Okay.-based service established by former college roommates Krohn and Stewart Stanbra. It has since offered SU a few of its prime expertise during the last 5 years.

SU’s present staff options 4 gamers that discovered their method via the service: Jonathan Hagman (Sweden), Severin Soerlie (Norway), Sondre Norheim (Norway) and Petter Stangeland (Norway). They’ve accounted for 15 of the Orange’s 47 factors, together with a three-aim efficiency from Hagman on Monday.

CSUSA has helped 16 gamers discover houses at ACC faculties, 11 of them at present enrolled. Syracuse tops the record in each classes, receiving six gamers complete from the company, which doubles Virginia Tech’s second-place complete of three.

“I think we are always in a position to get their best players,” SU assistant coach Jukka Masalin stated.
Whereas U.S. soccer tradition was as soon as regarded as inferior, Emil Kumlin stated, the development of the expertise degree in college soccer is in step with the progress Main League Soccer has made. It’s now seen as a pretty path for prime worldwide soccer gamers — persevering with schooling whereas competing in excessive-degree college soccer.

Nicolay Netskar, a sports activities advisor at College Scholarships USA and a former shopper, stated when he started enjoying at Buffalo, he was the one one from any of the three golf equipment he performed for in Norway to attend a U.S. college. Now, there are 4 to 6.

“People have maybe opened their eyes a little bit for soccer in the states,” he stated.

Monday towards Akron, Hagman cracked a smile as he locked his eyes on Soerlie. Seconds earlier, Soerlie challenged the goalkeeper and despatched a sliding shot at his ft, which was deflected.

However Hagman was proper there to wash it up. His first aim of the season shortly turned his second and third. Soerlie hopped on Hagman’s again, and the group celebrated round its hero. If not for 2 cast paths to america 15 years prior, he might have by no means been there.


Max Freund | Asst. Photograph Editor

Jonathan Hagman performs on the ball. He’s one of many 4 SU participant to seek out their option to the Orange by means of College Scholarships USA.


Fifteen years in the past, Stanbra like most younger soccer gamers in the UK, seemed for a path to skilled soccer by way of the membership system.

Within the U.Okay., like many nations outdoors of america, there’s sometimes a cut up between individuals pursuing athletics and other people looking for an schooling at a college. Stanbra stated he had grown used to the mindset that once you didn’t go professional, your profession was over.

When it dawned on him shortly that he “wasn’t quite good enough,” he remembered an older participant on his membership group had discovered his approach to a U.S. college. Within the early days of the web, Stanbra searched the online to find what choices he had. Although not sure of what he needed, he discovered his method to Canisius College in 2003.

He realized the place he stood: He fell in need of his soccer objectives however salvaged his profession by means of his pursuit of an schooling at a U.S. college.

“It dawned on me quite quickly that this is a fantastic route for people like me who were aspiring athletes,” Stanbra stated.

He helped his brother discover his option to the U.S. Then a couple of pals. He acknowledged his information a few comparatively untapped market and commenced writing a marketing strategy in his freshman yr. The subsequent yr, he transferred to South Carolina Upstate and was randomly assigned Krohn as his roommate, who additionally self-discovered his approach to the U.S.

Krohn acknowledged the Norwegian market hadn’t been touched. Since English proficiency and monetary grants are all at a better degree in Scandinavia than many different European nations, Krohn stated, attending a U.S. college is a seamless transition in Scandinavian nations.

As they developed the thought, they employed the assistance of USC Upstate enterprise Professor Jeff Smith, then a primary-yr instructor of entrepreneurship.

Instantly intrigued by the thought, Smith discovered an workplace on the third flooring of the executive constructing for them to work.

“They created a potential industry,” Smith stated.

Stanbra and Krohn’s first monetary assertion listed only a cellular phone and a laptop computer. They established themselves as middlemen whereas they decided, with Smith’s assist, the path of the enterprise.

Every day, Krohn and Stanbra spent hours going over their plan and took detailed notes on their enterprise mannequin. They wrote questions down for Smith and went to his workplace to speak. In the future, Smith, Stanbra and Krohn had been conversing for some time.

“I have to step out of the room for a minute,” Smith remembered he stated at one level, rising anxiously from his seat.

Smith didn’t fairly know the best way to say why he couldn’t wait any longer. He wanted to go to the toilet. As if Stanbra and Krohn didn’t even discover, they adopted him down the hallway and into the restroom, persevering with to bounce concepts off one another your complete method.

Stanbra admitted they made early errors — together with funneling 50 % of their cash into Google advertisements. Nevertheless it helped them create an understanding of what that they had. This can be a private enterprise: They’re asking somebody’s son or daughter to maneuver three,000 miles away, Stanbra stated, and they need to be trusted to do it.

“You can’t sell that through an ad or a poster,” Stanbra stated.

The 10 to 12 month course of with a sure participant is usually initiated by an e-mail, after which a CSUSA worker matches up with a shopper and types a guidelines: taking SATs, buying scholar visas, contacting faculties, making use of and figuring out scholarship eligibility.

To contact shoppers, the 2 traveled to Denmark and different Scandinavian nations, presenting 20 occasions in 5 days. They slept some nights in Krohn’s mom’s automotive, Stanbra stated, and others in a tent.

They shaped relationships with coaches in any respect ranges. Some, like McIntyre and Masalin, they met of their early days of teaching, through the SU duo’s time collectively at Hartwick. Now, they’ve a community of “thousands” of coaches.

Wanting again on the the marketing strategy he helped the 2 put collectively, Smith instantly highlighted the chief assertion. It’s the primary web page of the marketing strategy, however Smith all the time instructs it to be written final. Make it fast — underneath two pages — and to the purpose, he stated.

He singled out the primary line: “College Scholarships USA can be a market chief in recruiting and putting gifted scholar athletes in US schools and universities.

“Boom,” Smith stated.


Syracuse is among the many most intimate of the relationships that the corporate has shaped through the years. Krohn and Masalin have had a constant stream of contact all through the years, and the 2 have conversed about gamers once they come up.

Kumlin estimates that he speaks to Masalin about three or 4 occasions a yr, and Masalin stated he checks in with Krohn a few occasions a month. Krohn contacts Masalin every time he finds a participant match for Syracuse, Kumlin stated, and Masalin trusts Krohn sufficient that Masalin visits the participant in individual.

“He’s going to come to me and say, why don’t you have a look at this guy?” Masalin stated.


Max Freund | Asst. Photograph Editor

Sondre Norheim kicks the ball up within the air.

In 2012, Stanbra accompanied Masalin as he scouted striker Emil Ekblom. Sensing the peak of the second, Ekblom missed badly a golden probability on a penalty kick. Most are obsessive about outcomes, Stanbra stated, however he was impressed by how good a “soccer analyst” Masalin was by wanting previous the error. Ekblom got here to SU the identical yr as Alseth, and the 2 scored a mixed 74 factors of their time with the Orange — Ekblom scored 42 in two years earlier than he left to pursue knowledgeable contract in Norway.

One yr, Masalin made three journeys to Oslo over a 4-month interval. Different years, when SU doesn’t have a selected want, are quiet.

“It doesn’t matter if I have a five-star right back,” Kumlin stated. “If Jukka and Ian (don’t) need that, then I need to go somewhere else.”

However when SU wanted a middle again, Krohn really helpful Norheim. When Kumlin left Blue Chip, one other recruiting firm, to go CSUSA’s enlargement to the Swedish market in 2014, his concept for a Scandinavian showcase attracted the likes of Hagman. Kumlin had seen Hagman play for AIK-Stroudsburg. As group captain, his contact on the ball, passing capacity and management instantly stood out.

Kumlin stated Akron and Duke “wanted Hagman bad,” however Kumlin contacted Syracuse first, considering Hagman can be a superb match. When Hagman and Masalin first spoke, each have been hooked.

Soerlie first got here to the U.S. by way of College Scholarships USA to attend Gardner-Webb. He admitted “Syracuse” and “Gardner-Webb” didn’t set off a distinction in his thoughts on the time. After his freshman yr, he advised his mother and father that if he performed nicely the subsequent season, he’d switch. After the season, he referred to as Krohn.

Many preached the corporate stays with gamers all through the college years. If all appears properly, Kumlin will verify in together with his shoppers as soon as within the preseason and as soon as on the finish of the season. But when there’s a necessity for a change, they’ll leap on it.

Lately, Masalin stated the “transfer market” has exploded, and 4-yr gamers are uncommon. The Orange reap the benefits of this, although. The NCAA has blackout durations in recruiting, however there aren’t restrictions for faculties like Syracuse contacting College Scholarships USA.

The firm can do recruiting of its personal, gathering knowledge from gamers they really feel are match for U.S. schools. CSUSA settles the logistics, so when the recruiting gates open, the Orange are able to pounce.

SU attracted Soerlie by way of switch, and he’s began 4 of his first 5 video games for the Orange. With no American equal to recruit transfers, faculties like Syracuse have the benefit.


Max Freund | Asst. Photograph Editor

Severin Soerlie slides in for a aim in SU’s matchup with Hofstra. It was the primary aim of the season for the switch from Gardner-Webb.

College Scholarships USA has grown from a employees of simply Stanbra and Krohn to 16 full-time members. Its firstclass despatched out 38 college students in 2009, Stanbra stated, and the newest one despatched 275. Subsequent yr, the corporate expects to assist 350 to 400 worldwide gamers get to U.S. schools.

Already benefiting greater than another staff within the ACC, the Orange are able of energy.

“You get the players’ videos. You get to know them, talk to them,” Masalin stated. “If you feel like it’s a good fit, you’re going to go on with it.”

Contact Michael: | @MikeJMcCleary

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