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Hopkins and Vroom ‘Living The Dream’ In Sweden

“Ljungskile expects me to be a contributor in the back line right away,” said Hopkins, who finished his career at DePaul in 2009. “The coach, Tor-Arne Freidham, felt that I could be an asset defensively and be a dangerous option on free kicks and corners as well.

“It will be tougher playing in Sweden, because the level is definitely higher here than in Australia. The good thing is that I have the experience of playing in a foreign country to fall back on and I know that I’m good enough to contribute at this level.”

It’s a level that is a lot more serious than the fun times at Wish Field.

“The major distinction separating college and pro soccer is that the professional game is a business,” Hopkins said. “I had been on trial at a lot of places before landing at Ljungksile, and at every place the guys who were already under contract don’t want you to make the team.

“They want you to fail because you are probably taking one of their friends’ roster spots, and these guys are playing the game to support their families. In college everybody is hoping that you succeed.”

“It was the complete opposite, however, at Ljungskile. Everyone here went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I like my life in Sweden so far. I’m living in Uddevalla, a town of about 50,000 people, and it feels very cozy. I’ve made some friends with the employees at a few local coffee shops that I frequent.”

Vroom is settling in and already has set a goal of leading the league in scoring this season.

“Sweden is a very nice country, especially now that the snow is melting,” said Vroom, who was All-BIG EAST First Team as a senior. “People live very modestly, love Americans, and mostly everyone speaks English. So although it is very different than home, it isn’t too far off to make you feel homesick.

“Being a forward, my goal is to score. I would like to be top scorer on the team and also in the league. When setting goals for myself, I always try and shoot higher than I think I can achieve. In that sense, it forces me to push myself harder than I think I can go. In the past, it has worked great for me.”

Read more: http://www.depaulbluedemons.com/sports/m-soccer/spec-rel/040412aaa.html

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