From Sweden to Italy to Michigan, football is a universal language in Escanaba

Football Frenzy

Escanaba, Mich. (WJMN) — The 2021-2022 Escanaba High School varsity football team has gone international this year.

Two exchange students are on the Esykmos’ team.

“They got here the third week of football I believe and they fit right in,” Escanaba head coach Dave Wilson said. “Neither one of them have ever played football before but I really think they are great kids and great assets to the team. They are loving playing.”

Though the game might be a little foreign to them, that isn’t stopping them from living out their dream of playing American football.

“I knew nothing at all,” Tor Spets from Sweden said. “I knew about Super Bowl and stuff like that because of social media and I heard about teams and the NFL but I didn’t know how to play or anything. I used to watch American movies and stuff like that when I was little and I kind of knew what it was but I never played it before so it is a new experience.”

One thing that needs no translation is team spirit.

“Coach Wilson, he is great,” Spets said. “He helps Federico and I a lot and he is very positive and he supports the team and he does what is best for the team and it has been great. The guys are awesome and it is amazing. They are very friendly and accepting and welcoming.”

Tor isn’t alone on the field when it comes to international competition.

“It is pretty cool in our sport because there is too much rules and there is a lot of type of player but it is a cool sport,” Federico Lorenzi, an exchange student from Italy, said.

The game of football is a way for these two to feel connected even when friends and family are so far away.

“We have a good season,” Federico said. “I like it. I like this team. I hope that we win more games and that I can play in more play.”

These two have been in the Upper Peninsula for less than two months but Wilson, the head coach, says they are already bringing so much to the team.

“They have never heard of Escanaba, Michigan, before and they have come in here with a great attitude every single day and they have just been great teammates, all the guys in there love them,” Wilson said. “They are just really really nice kids and really enjoy playing the game of football.”

Regardless of wins and losses, this experience is something the two will never forget.

“I just want to play football, have fun and make friends,” Spets said.

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