Alexandra Jonson will be covering Sweden's France 2019 campaign for FIFA Digital
Her adoration of Henrik Larsson led to a move to Spain to cover La Liga
Jonson: "The 2003 Women's World Cup changed my mindset"
For the first time at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™, FIFA’s coverage of France 2019 will be spearheaded by 24 Team Digital Content Producers, offering expert insight and exclusive behind-the-scenes content on each of the participating sides.
Between now and the big kick-off, some of these Team Reporters will be sharing their stories and expectations for the upcoming showpiece. Today it's the turn of Alexandra Jonson, who will be covering her native Sweden, having made a life and career for herself in Spain.
Football has always been a huge part of my life. I started playing when I was just five, and played with boys for four years until a girls’ team was created.
My hero growing up was Henrik Larsson, and from the start I always wore the No7 when I played football - because of Larsson. To be honest, most things I did were because of Henrik Larsson!
When I was 12, Henrik signed for Barcelona, which meant I was finally able to watch his matches live, as the Scottish league hadn’t been shown on Swedish TV during his time at Celtic. That’s when I started to develop an interest in Spanish football.
Within a couple of years, I received an amazing birthday gift of going to Barcelona and watching a match at Camp Nou. It was an incredible experience and I decided to start saving money so that I could move to Barcelona as soon as I finished school.
My interest in sports journalism was kindled soon after, around the age of 15. Really, it stemmed from feeling I didn’t have anyone close to share my deep interest with - everyone just thought I was annoying, talking non-stop about the game. So I started to write about it instead. I did an article for a school project, got the highest grade and from there I had found a new passion.
I was still playing at this time, and my best football season was in 2009, when I played with the first team at Hollvikens GIF - scoring ten goals in 11 matches in the fourth division – and reached the final of the Swedish championship for my age group. But I ended that season by suffering an ACL injury, and in truth as a player I never fully recovered from that.
But I did move to Barcelona after high school, just as I’d decided I would. The idea was that I would study Spanish for six months; I ended up staying for three years. I wrote for fan blogs, received some valuable tips from a few sports journalists and eventually got the chance to write about Spanish football for Fotbollskanalen in Sweden.
Although I moved back home in 2015, feeling I wanted to get to know the journalism business in Sweden, I quickly started to miss being at the matches in Spain. So in 2018, after lots of travelling back and forth, I returned there. This time my destination was Oviedo, as I decided to start the process of writing a book about Real Oviedo - a club with a very special story. And now I live in Vigo, from where I’ve mainly been covering the northern teams in La Liga for several media outlets this season.
Last summer, another dream came true for me when I covered Sweden for FIFA at the World Cup in Russia. That was an incredible experience, and I’m so excited to be able to do the same again this year with the women’s team.
Sweden have always had a very strong women’s national team - we haven’t missed a single World Cup so far. And I believe the current side can surprise a few people. There is experience, talent and a strong mentality in the squad, and they feel confident. The last home friendly against Germany was played in front of a record attendance, and there will be big screens in the three biggest cities this summer showing the matches. Hopefully there will be a lot to celebrate!
I’m very excited about this tournament for several reasons. One of the most impactful football memories I have from my childhood is from 2003, when Sweden reached the Final of the Women’s World Cup. I remember watching the tournament on TV at home, and the reaction and party feeling it created in Sweden.
I was nine years old and had come to the realisation that, because I was a girl, I would never be able to become a professional footballer - to live on football. But that World Cup changed my mindset. For the first time, I realised I also had the possibility of one day playing in a World Cup, the entire country back home cheering on. It made me dream.
Remembering that moment, and what that meant for me, makes me extra excited for this World Cup – and having the opportunity of showing more girls that this dream is possible. I believe this can be a historic World Cup, and to be able to play a part in something that can become such an important milestone for women’s football is truly incredible. It’s a big responsibility, but a great one to have - and it will make me work extra hard to give the best possible coverage.