Despite a slow start to the 2009 Superettan season, Ljungskile goalkeeper Colin Burns is still upbeat that the western Swedish team will return to the Allsvenskan and redeem itself after last year's end-of-season swoon.
Ljungskile was relegated to the Superettan on the final day of the season which gave the native of Newark, DE plenty of time during the long Scandinavian winter to reflect on what went wrong.
"Every day I'm haunted by getting relegated last season. We had a five point advantage with nine games to go but then went on a horrible streak where we scored just three goals in 10 games," Burns told YA.
"For me, it was trial by fire and doing everything I could to save a sinking ship. I learned a lot being in that situation and playing in games with so much pressure to win. It was an invaluable lesson I'll always carry with me."
After stints with a club in Moldova and then bouncing around various leagues in Finland, a sense of permanency for Burns is welcomed.
"Personally, it's going to be a big year for me. I'm the number one goalkeeper this year after winning the job halfway through last season. I have a lot of eyes on me this year since my contract expires at the end of the season," said the former University of Massachusetts Minuteman.
"After putting in some hard work during the winter and preseason, I feel like this is probably the fittest and sharpest I've ever been."
Burns also used the offseason to go home to the U.S. and repair a few lingering injuries.
"I had two screws removed from the second joint on my big toe. I had broken my toe in high school and the screws had been left in. By removing them, it will help prevent any potential injuries. Luckily my recovery was minimal and I was 100% by the time preseason started."
The Delawarean is joined by two other countrymen, Etchu Tabe and Sam Brill, helping them form the first ever American trio for any club in Sweden. Burns is glad to have the Cameroonian-born Tabe and former Boston College Eagle Brill on the squad.
"It's been nice having Etchu and Sam to talk to about things back home. Etchu brings pure athletic ability to the team and has dramatically improved from last year. What he lacks in experience, he makes up for in size and speed. Sam has been brought on to help with our defense and midfield," added Burns.
After notching their first victory of the season over Vasby United on Sunday, Burns and Ljungskile will try to give interim head coach Jorgen Walemark his second straight win next weekend at home against first place Mjallby AIF.
Walemark replaced fired head coach Gudmundur Magnusson on May 8th.
Ljunskile currently sit in 12th place with six points.