Humans of UH Hilo: Magnus Olsson

Magnus Olsson Travels 4,000 Miles to Play Soccer for UH Hilo

Humans of UH Hilo By Lichen Forster

Magnus Olsson controls a footballPhoto courtesy of Johnny Sørensen

How many of us dream of visiting — or even attending university — in a different country? Well, that dream is reality for Danish Vulcan Magnus Olsson, a freshman at UH Hilo.

While taking a gap year after his completion of “gymnasium” (Denmark’s equivalent of American high school), Olsson was contacted by UH Hilo’s soccer coach, Paul Regrutto.

“I started playing club soccer pretty late; at the age of 9,” said Olsson, who was offered a scholarship to cover 50 percent of his school expenses to play for UH Hilo. “He [Regrutto] was the reason I decided to come to Hilo. The possibility of playing soccer at a high level and attending university at the same time excited me, and the decision was easy in the end.”

“The training here is definitely a lot different to what I’m used to,” Olsson said.

“In Denmark, I am used to fewer drills per session, and a much bigger focus on playing game-like drills. Here, there’s a bigger individual focus, and the details matter a lot more. So, yes, I have had to make some adjustments, but it’s exciting to experience a new training culture.”

At press time, the Vulcans had lost a game to Hawaiʻi Pacific University on Sept. 18, but they had won their first game of the season against Chaminade University on Sept. 16.

At press time, the Vulcans had lost a game to Hawaiʻi Pacific University on Sept. 18, but they had won their first game of the season against Chaminade University on Sept. 16. “The win feels great, and I am really impressed with the team spirit here,” Olsson said.

Olsson was raised in the city of Aalborg, and he can rattle off several differences between his windy, cold hometown and rainy, humid Hilo. “Living in Hilo is great; from the nice, but rainy weather, to the friendly spirit of the people,” Olsson said. “The much smaller amount of needed clothing has been a fantastic adjustment to make!”

International applicants who are non-native English speakers must show proof of reasonable fluency, or start at UH Hilo’s English Language Institute before pursuing a degree. This was no problem for Olsson, who is fluent in several languages as well as English. “I speak Danish, which is my native language, and then I obviously speak English,” Olsson said. “Back home, you start learning English around the age of 9 and German or French when you are around 11 years old; I chose German.” Olsson also understands some Swedish because his family has a summer home in Sweden.

Olsson’s current plans for his studies are to major in Administration of Justice, with future aspirations in law. “However, I’m not sure on that part of my future, and only time will tell what’s going to happen.” Olsson said.