When Team Sweden takes the field against Finland at the 2017 IFAF NY European Junior Championship today at Gentofte Stadium outside of Copenhagen they will have a state champion at quarterback.
Swedish-born quarterback Michael Cox Jr., who plays high school football in Florida now with 2016 Florida Class 8A state champions, Southridge High School and is being recruited by Florida State, Clemson, West Virginia and Rutgers, will be behind center.
He was born in Sweden and lived in the small town of Skövde, but when he was seven, he moved with his mother to Florida to join his Jamaican father. That is where the interest in football started as he told Jacob Johannesson of the Skövde Nyheter newspaper:
“My dad introduced the American football game to me. He had previously played it so it suited me well.”
He picked up the game quickly and last year threw two touchdown passes to lead Southridge to the Florida State championship in December. That is as good as it gets in the United States.
And today he will be leading Sweden.
“I think it will be cool to play for my country. It will be exciting and become a cool experience.”
This week he will be an important part of Team Sweden as the squad prepares to take on both Finland and Denmark and qualify for the World Championships in 2018.
Before arriving in Copenhagen for the tournament, Cox. Jr. spent a few days in Skövde and says he really enjoyed it, surprising Johannesson:
“Skövde is better than Miami,” he said surprisingly.
When asked whether he really meant it he did not hesitate:
“Yes, the food is better and the people are more happy here. Skövde is simple and cozy in some way. I like it.”
He may well feel right at home back in Sweden, but today, Team Sweden head coach Andreas Ehrenreich is hoping he will feel even more comfortable on the football field.
Sweden faces Team Finland at 3 pm, July 13 at Gentofte Stadium outside of Copenhagen.