By Aaron Page
Coach Johansson is a great Coach and has the resume to prove it. His focus on building relationships, setting high standards for his players and himself and believing in his players dreams at the same level as they do truly defines what it means to be a great Coach. This past weekend Coach Johansson and His squad faced off against Pôle France Revolution. Although the Tigers lost a close one against the French team 13-15, Coach Johansson and RIG Academy have something special going on in Sweden.
What is your coaching experience to date?
I’ve been coaching in some shape or form for 27 years, and the last 15 years have been only coaching. I have coached mostly on the offensive side of the ball but have coached most positions. I’ll sum it up roughly:
Head coach RIG academy (high school)
Head Coach and offensive coordinator for the Stockholm Mean Machines
Offensive coordinator for the Swedish national team (men)
WR coach for the Swedish national team (men)
Offensive coordinator Swedish junior national team (U19)
WR coach for the Swedish junior national team (U19)
Offensive assistant coach Emporia State
fall 2006 Head of Strength and conditioning Swedish federation Strength and conditioning coach for the Stockholm Mean Machines
What are the challenges associated with coaching American football in Sweden and how do you overcome those challenges?
Numbers has always been a big issue. And by making the practice and game fun helps the players learn and I believe they will come back for more. I have had the big fortune of having motivated players and a high level of commitment from them and myself, they keep getting better. Another challenge is the lack of money for the coaches to be able to spend more time coaching. With the chance to earn some money coaching you do not have to work full time and can give more time to building the program.
Is part of your goal development of your players to eventually play at the collegiate or professional level?
At RIG we base everything around what our kids want to achieve. If the want to play college or professional football does not change what we do. We do our best to make the best version of every player.
What is the best part about getting to coach this international match up?
The possibility for our kids to match up against someone else and compete. Just to see how good you are and compare against an elite program like Pôle Revolution is huge. I’m really happy for our kids to get the opportunity for international elite experience.
What do you look for in a player and what traits do they need to have in order to play for you?
Passion to get better, drive to do what it takes and be coachable. If they have that they can play anywhere. If you also add courage and grit the sky is the limit.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
The relationships with the players and the opportunity to help them reach something they dream about. To me it is amazing to see young players bust their butt to get what they want, to sacrifice everything for a dream. And to create an environment where all this is possible is what I live for. Looking back at the last five years at RIG we have accomplished some amazing things, and the kids can reach any goal they set up. All you have to do is let them dream, believe in them and point the way. I’m amazed at what is possible.