Head Coaching Woes Hit Sweden’s Top Team

In a surprising, and sudden move the five-time and defending champion Carlstad Crusaders of Sweden have decided to part ways with their new head coach, Duke Iverson.

It took seven weeks and two games for the club, which is no stranger to changing coaches, to decide that Iverson was not a fit for the organization. In fact, the Crusaders have won the last five Swedish championships with a different bench boss every time. So as far as this being a sign of instability in an organization, it is actually a sign that this club knows its players and staff.


The team opened the season with two straight wins, one decisively against Danish defending champion the Copenhagen Towers, but the second against the Uppsala 86ers, a solid Swedish club team, was not so decisive.

The Uppsala game this past weekend was the kicker. The highest scoring team in Sweden in 2014, the Crusaders, who averaged almost 60 points a game, were held to 14 points, all in the first half.

Sweden - Carlstad v. Uppsala2

Something was wrong in Sweden’s football paradise. The club organizers had been aware of a coach-team disconnect for a few weeks but waited to act on it until the first regular season game of the year.

Carlstad General Manager Robert Sundberg:

“This was a mutual parting of the ways. We have had several discussions with coach Iverson and in the end we both decided this was the best solution for both parties. We wanted to give him a chance to do his best to right the ship, but the situation became intolerable with the important game against the Helsinki Roosters, Finnish and Champions League title holders, coming up on May 16.”

The team had added coaching help over the past couple of weeks, but it was not enough to make a difference. A new head coach will be announced very shortly according to Sundberg. Meanwhile, other experienced coaches within the club will step up to fill the gap until that time.

Sweden - Carlstad - Sundberg

Robert Sundberg


“Duke Iverson will return to the United States without delay. Again this is a very unfortunate situation. and one that we did not want to make, but with so much at stake this year we felt we had to make the decision earlier rather than later. A new head coach will need some time to acclimatize and we are already into our season.

“Duke is a very experienced and competent head coach and we are very sorry that it had to come to this. But Duke was unable to build the confidence he needed to lead the team and this has caused a sense of frustration and stress, which has been reflected on the field. The team was not living up to the high standards of the association, coaches and players.”

The Crusaders will play the Limhamn Giriffins this Sunday May 10 and hope to have a new coach in place by then, but if not a coaching team will lead the squad as a temporary fix. There are a few different options, but Carlstad may also fall back on a combination of different coaches during the season.

As to the potential new head coach, the club is said to be looking internally rather than bringing in another American or outside candidate.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.