One World — One Ball

Yui Takahashi: “I want to play floorball in Sweden someday” – A dream come true

Several years ago, it was my dream. And now I live in Sweden and play floorball almost every day.

I started playing floorball when I was 6 years old. Then when I was 15, I was chosen in Japan national team and in 2005 I played my first WFC in Singapore. My first WFC match was actually against Sweden. I was lucky that I got a chance to play in the third line, and at that time, I saw “REAL FLOORBALL”.
Team Sweden and we played totally different. They were too fast, physically strong and had good technique. We were just running after them and losing the control of the game…
After the match, I thought “I want to play with them and I want to be like them!”

In 2007 I started studying in a university. I studied physical education got 4 different type of teacher‘s certificates. I really wanted to become an elementary school teacher, but I knew that if people become a teacher in Japan, it means that they have to quit playing floorball in international level. In addition to this, my dream was still “playing floorball in Sweden”. So I decided to go to Sweden after graduating from the university.
So I started preparing some things. First, I started to save some money. I wanted to live in Sweden at least for a year, so I saved money for the first year. Secondly, I tried to fix a stay permit. There were some type of stay permits but for people coming from Asia, it was pretty difficult to get it. Fortunately, I found a school where people could study sport education including floorball and I got the stay permit from the school. Then I also tried to find a host family in Sweden. It was the first time for me to live in another country, so I needed someone to help me. Finally, in July 2011 I had fixed everything I needed, and I moved to Stockholm.

I had only one big suitcase and one floorball stick with me and I also had courage and hope.
Actually, the first year in Sweden was really REALLY tough for me. I could only speak English a little and I couldn‘t understand Swedish at all. In school, all of the classes were in Swedish and I didn‘t understand what they were talking about, not even the subjects. At the floorball training, it was better because my teammates talked to me in English, but still it was tough to understand the playing system and tactics.

So, I cried almost every day during the first year in Sweden. In addition to language, there was very tough competition in our team.
I was part of a team that played in the second highest league in Sweden. There are a lot of good players and trainers. Of course, the level of the league is much higher than in Japan. Sometimes I couldn‘t get enough playing time, and it was the first time for me to sit on the bench. In Japan, I was one of the best players for a long time, so I played how much I wanted both in my original team and in the national team. So, it was hard for me to sit on the bench and I cried a lot even when my team won.
But now I know that it was a really good situation for me to develop not only as a floorball player but also as a person. I believe I became a stronger person because of this experience.

In 2015, I injured my knee in the WFC Qualifications, so I went back to Japan and operated it but then I moved to Sweden again in 2016. Now I live in Umeå, Northern part of Sweden. Umeå is actually the best floorball town. There are 4 teams playing in the highest Swedish league (2 men‘s teams and 2 women‘s teams). And there is a really nice floorball arena. I still play in the second highest league with IBF Dalen, my fifth season in Sweden and I watch some top level matches every weekend. I also have chance to practice with IBK Dalen which plays in the highest league so I have floorball almost every day!
I‘m so happy that I got a job as a Japanese mother tongue teacher here in Umeå. So now I do everything that I wanted to do!

It became a pretty long blog but the things that I want to tell you are: if you are interested in playing floorball in a higher level, try. People can learn so many things from really good players and trainers. There are so much differences between Asian level and European level, especially among top 4 countries.

I have a new dream now. It is to play in the highest Swedish league. I know that it is really difficult but I just keep trying. Do you think my dream comes true?

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