JOHN KRETLOW - Thursday, January 17, 2013
Cobi Span finished his first professional year with Djurgardens IF in Sweden's
Allsvenskan and is eyeing to continue his development in his second season.
Like all rookies, Span saw his fair share of ups and downs throughout his first year
abroad, but the Westchester, New York native is primed for a strong 2013 season
for himself and his club.
The former Virginia standout began his Swedish journey on a positive note, as the
midfielder saw playing time often and even scored his first goal in only his third
appearance for the team. "At first when I got here I did really well, because I was so
excited to be here and I was really energetic," Span told YA.
However, it didn't take long for the young American to feel his first bumps in the
road. Particularly, Span needed to adjust to a new country new workload.
"The first season is always going to be tough," explained the midfielder. "They told
this to me and they were right. Being out of the country for the first time and being
the only American out there is a big change. Its something I really needed to adjust
to, on the field and off the field. I feel like the one year I got through it and from now
on it's only up from here."
"Compared to the college game, the season is 8-9 months and the college game is
three months. It's a lot of games in three months but at the same time it's not really
much compared to what I'm doing now."
Nevertheless, Span adjusted to his new surroundings and schedule well and feels
better for it. "For me it was more up and down. I had a really good two months and
then after that my form would go down a bit because I wasn't used to playing that
many games and that many practices continuously all over and over again. It was
hard. You have to be mentally strong."
"At the end of the year I feel like a better player and overall I'm better. Like mentally
being there, better as a player and overall I just feel more comfortable going into the
Span began his career after a successful stint at the University of Virginia where he
was a standout midfielder. After his sophomore season Span decided to make the
jump to the pros and signed with Djurgardens. Previously, the young American had
training stints with Orebro of Sweden and the Bundesliga's TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. It
was during this time that he caught the eye of his present employer.
"The summer of 2011 I went to train with Orebro and Hoffenheim and when I was at
Orebro they had someone in the stands who was watching the training because they
were looking for players," Span explained. Span returned for his sophomore year at
UVA, but this time with a lot more eyes on him. "They looked at me and liked what
they saw and they found out about me and decided to watch me at a college game
during the 2011 season. So they had a high interest in me and followed me through
the whole season."
Although the Swedish top-flight is still a couple months from starting, Span and
Djurgardens are ready for 2013.
"He (Coach) had a meeting with every player (after the season). They said they
really like me and said I have a ton of potential and they think I developed a lot over
the last year. Even though it was a tough year for me considering, I did well and
then I got injured and stuff like that. They said they want me to be here and they
think I can really push to be a starter next year and get a good period of good form
and no injuries hopefully."
Span and Djurgardens take the field once again on March 31st when they take on