At the age of 15, Jonas Forsberg, of Uppsala, Sweden, was on top of the soccer World. Ranked in the top four of his region (25 regions in Sweden) Jonas was confident about his future as a soccer player and on his way to being named to the Youth National Team. But Jonas’s future in soccer would soon take a different path.
At Swedish National Camp Jonas destroyed his ACL. His greatest quality, his speed, was now a challenge.
“One of my biggest qualities as a player was my speed on the pitch,” Jonas explained. “After getting back from the injury I was strong, I improved my touch on the ball, my way of reading the game, but I never got my speed back.”
Playing since the age of 7, he possesses a long list of awards, accomplishments, and championships. “Speed is what took me from being a fantastic player to an average player. I kept on struggling for 3-4 years after I got back, and I did play at a pretty high level, but I never became half the player as I could have been. ”
But instead of dwelling on what could have been, Jonas decided to take his talents in soccer and put them to good use in an alternative way. “This struggle is what got me into the world of athletic performance in the first place. Since my coaches couldn’t help me at all with improving speed, I had to look elsewhere. A few years later with experience from university studies, I felt I knew more about speed.” Even though Jonas had learned a lot, he still felt it was all complicated and was unfortunately his new found knowledge focused mostly on track & field speed and didn’t necessarily share similar philosophies on improving running mechanics that he knew to be true from his own experience.
Although Jonas spent one year studying at Hofstra University in New York, he says most of his knowledge comes from his years as a player and during the last three years as a coach.
About a year ago, Jonas discovered “The Speed Guy.” Jonas said, “This really got me excited, and all of Lee’s stuff seemed so natural, it was based upon his own experience, and most importantly, it was all about the way our bodies are meant to move. He also taught me the term multidirectional speed, and after that, I was sold.”
Jonas now owns and operates the Football Speed Academy in Upsala. The Football Speed Academy is a company that works with soccer players of all ages and levels, and where the goal is to improve their movement patterns and make them faster on the soccer field.
Jonas’s training philosophy is fairly simple. “Training for kids should be fun and focused on development rather on results,” he tells SSE.
“As a soccer coach and speed coach my goal is to prepare the kids for when they become senior players, which in Sweden often is when the players are between 18-19 years old. Up to that point it should all be about personal development and preparing them, but winning games is also what the soccer is about, but I never emphasize it over individual development with our youngsters.”
I can’t imagine doing anything else. Coaching youth soccer players both through general soccer training as well as through the work I do with my company is the best job in the world, and I hope to have the ability to continue doing that my whole life!