In the summer of 2015 QBIK Sports Director, Tommy Bang, was left searching for players to strengthen his side as they looked to keep their place in the Elitettan, Swedens 2nd tier of Women’s soccer. Bang was put in touch with Simon Deeley, Director of Women’s Soccer for PSC Soccer Academy who was able to recommend combine participants, Hannah Kimsey and Lauren Badalamente, to the Swedish club.
Following trial, both players promptly signed and were lining up for their professional debuts midway through the 2015 season. The girls contributed significantly with 6 goals between them across 10 games including back to back game tying goals in the two penultimate games of the season to help secure Elitettan status.
Following the performances of the girls from USA, Tommy Bang and QBIK are now traveling to America this December to attend our combines in person as they prepare for bigger things in the 2016 season.
We caught up with Tommy to find out his thoughts on the upcoming events, and what he is looking for in a player:
Your 2015 season saw 2 girls from PSC events playing for QBIK, how did that opportunity present itself?
We had contact with Rickard Nilsson from KIF Örebro, who had attended one of the PSC camps 2014. He mentioned Hannah May Kimsey, and that she was a really good fit for QBIK so put us in touch with Simon [Deeley] at PSC. We also asked if there were any other players from the combine we could use and Lauren Badalamente was recommended to us. Both were a complete success and scored some very important goals for us at the end of the season.
How did Lauren and Hannah get on this year, were they valuable players for you in the league run in?
Hannah was an instant start player for us and was a very important piece in our midfield. Lauren scored some of our most important goals at the very end of the season. So both Hannah and “Bada” were instrumental in us staying in Elitettan this season.
Following the successful relationship that saw Hannah and Lauren join you in Sweden, you are now coming out to the events this December to see a fresh group of players live and in person. What is it that you are looking for in a player at these events, both on and off the field?
We always look for players who can make a difference, that can play anywhere on the field, and still perform. We like our players to “think”, to have a good tactical understanding yet a good physique is important, because Elitettan is a division were the players are big, strong, and fast. So on the field, hard working players with energy, who understand the game is what we look for. We are also looking for leaders, who want to be number 1, but at the same time are team players. We have high demands!
You have clearly had American players in the club before, how do they get on in terms of settling into the Swedish way of life, is it a culture shock or do they settle pretty fast?
To live in Sweden is an adventure for international players, but also demanding. The player has to be mentally strong, and be able to live without family and close friends. At the same time, we take really good care of our guests. We make them feel comfortable and the social life of the field is very important to us as a club. It seems to me as the American players settle in easy in Sweden. They are open minded to a new culture, at the same time we try to take good care of them.
We hear that you have 2 new coaches for the upcoming 2016 season, what are the aims for QBIK this year?
QBIK will within a few years play in Damallsvenskan (Premier League), we know that. But if it happens next year or the year after is not important. We are building a team right now that we think will be really good. The new coaches bring much experience from women’s soccer, and men’s soccer. This will be of high value for us. They know QBIK and what we stand for. We’re building a team for the future, and each year our goal is to perform better than the year before.
Finally, is there any advice you would offer to girls attending the upcoming events?
Give all you have, work hard, show the energy. This is a great opportunity for all the players and coaches. Whatever your skills are, show them! So, give us your best, work hard and most important of all, enjoy the moment. Who knows, maybe one of you will be our next star?
Thankyou for taking time out of your busy schedule Tommy, we look forward to welcoming and hosting you this December in your search for talent.
Tommy Bang, will be in attendance at both our Women’s combines this December on behalf of his Elitettan side QBIK. Both combines are selling out fast, with some positions already sold out.