Where Are They Now: Johanna Larsson

Nov. 21, 2006

Throughout this off-season, kuathletics.com will periodically check in with former Jayhawks and see what they have been up to since their days in the Crimson and Blue. Today, we profile Johanna Larsson, who played at KU from 1998-2000.

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

Prior to the 1998 season, Larsson transferred to KU from Göteborg University in her native Sweden. In her three seasons with the Jayhawks, Larsson appeared in 53 matches, scoring four goals and nine points while playing both forward and defender.

Larsson proved to be exceptional both on the field and in the classroom. She was twice named Academic All-Big 12 and a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society.

The first European-born player to suit up for the KU soccer team, Larsson was on Head Coach Mark Francis’ 2000 team, which became the first at KU to advance to the Big 12 Tournament.

Where are you living and working now?

JL: I live in St. Louis, Mo. and I work as an attorney for Armstrong Teasdale,


How has your academic experience and/or your degree from KU assisted you in your chose career?

JL: The strong journalism program at KU definitely helped me succeed in law school and in my professional career.

What is your favorite memory from being at Kansas?

JL: It will always and forever be the field on game day.

What is one thing you miss most about being a college athlete?

JL: The team.

What was the best thing about being a Jayhawk?

JL: Representing KU.

What is one thing you learned from playing soccer at KU?

JL: Being a full-time student-athlete definitely taught me how to efficiently manage my time (something which is obviously crucial as an attorney on working on “billable hours”).

What made you decide to transfer to the University of Kansas?

JL: I always had an interest in attending college in the United States because the college life is completely different from Sweden. Setting aside the fact that college is free in Sweden (tuition is subsidized by the government), there are no university-level sports (everything is at club team level). Consequently, there is a definite lack of school spirit. I had played for a team in the Swedish premier league for a couple of years when I received the call from then-KU coach Dan Magner offering me a scholarship. I did not hesitate – I accepted on the spot. I was much more excited than scared to leave Sweden for America (a country which I had never even visited until I all of a sudden was a resident of Lawrence).

Was it difficult to adjust to American life?
I can think of two “difficulties” associated with transferring to KU.

(1) The biggest adjustment was undoubtedly the weather. Born and raised approximately two hours south of the Artic Circle, “humidity” was a completely new concept to me and it took me years to adapt. In fact, I still struggle with the Midwest heat at times (although I deal with it much better now when I no longer have to do two-a-days).

(2) Another obstacle was the food, which at first glance appeared to be either covered in cheddar cheese or deep-fried…and sometimes BOTH. It took me three years before I even tried fried chicken. It was not until then that I finally accepted that perhaps there was chicken underneath what appeared to be nothing more than “unidentified fried stuff.” (Un)fortunately, I absolutely love fried chicken today!

What is your lasting memory of playing soccer at KU?

JL: Season 2000 – “The road to San Antonio” (our first Big XII Tournament experience)

What advice would you give to the current team?

JL: Carpe Diem. Cherish every moment because you’re going to miss the entire college experience so much more than you’ll ever imagine.