This wasn’t the start to his FC Edmonton career that 23-year-old Swedish midfielder Erik Zetterberg imagined when he stepped off the plane and onto Canadian soil for this first time on February 25th.
After only a couple weeks of training with his new teammates, Edmonton, alongside the rest of the world, locked itself indoors to combat the COVID-19 virus. And just like that, Zetterberg was alone in a city he had hardly gotten the chance to know.
“You know people who are in risk zones who will have a bit of a struggle if they get it, so you start thinking of family members back home” he said. “All the time you have for yourself after a while gets to be a lot.”
Now Zetterberg spends his days in virtual meetings, playing video games with his new teammates, and getting creative with his workouts – including filling a backpack full of water bottles to add extra weight. While the situation isn’t ideal, it’s the best he can do given the circumstances.
“It’s still hard workouts, you still feel it” he assured.
The quarantine hasn’t been all bad for Zetterberg, who has taken his new found free time to tweak his diet and training. His latest quarantine experiment, implementing more vegan meals into his diet to gain himself an edge this season, whenever it may be.
“You have a lot of time to just think about stuff that might benefit you. I’m also getting really good at some video games,” he joked.
Zetterberg theorizes that he’d still need a week or two of training and friendlies to get his legs under him and first touch back if the league were able to play this summer, but he’s not picky. Right now he’ll be happy if there’s any season at all.
However, as the temperature has risen over the past few weeks, so have his spirits, as Zetterberg has been taking advantage of the warm weather to get outside and finally get a chance to explore the city he now calls home.
When he first arrived, Zetterberg was skeptical he’d ever see the sun again when his teammates raved about Edmonton’s hot summers.
“It’s hard to get it in your head when it’s like -25°C and people start to say that” he laughed. “Everyone was like ‘it’s quite similar to Sweden’ but it’s…not, it’s really not.”
Zetterberg has now made it through his first Canadian winter, and sets on conquering his first quarantine and finally making his debut at Clarke Stadium next.
“That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to,” he said.
Us too Erik, us too.