It only took Ashley Coffey half a season to realise Sweden was the place for him. The 25-year-old forward made the move abroad for the first time last summer and hit the ground running. In 11 matches he scored 12 goals and it had clubs across the country on red alert.
Having initially joined Huddinge IF in the country’s fourth-tier in July 2019, he is still in the country now and has a season in the third-tier to look forward to having signed for Division 1 club IFK Haninge ahead of the 2020 season. The club were playing in the ninth-tier as recently as 2006 but secured promotion to the third-tier for the first time last season. Coffey will be now looking to lead the line as they aim to survive in their new division.
Before moving to Sweden, the former Bradford City youngster played for non-league clubs such as Markse United and Whitby. He took time out from his double-life as a footballer and teacher to answer a few questions for an exclusive Q&A for English Players Abroad, below are his answers.
English Players Abroad Who did you play for growing up and in senior football?
Ashley Coffey: I played for Bradford City for two years when I was a 13-15. Then I went to a college where playing football was part of the programme which helped me a lot. After that I went to Teesside University in Middlesbrough played for the uni team as well as playing for some non-league teams around the north east area.
EPA: How did the move go Sweden come about?
AC: It’s always something I’ve thought about doing. Just after uni in 2017 I was contemplating going to Australia and playing over there but I had to have surgery on both knees so I was out for 14 months. In that time I met my girlfriend who is Swedish and though that it would be a good idea to make the move to Sweden. I spoke to a few people that had played in Sweden and they said they really enjoyed it so I thought why not try it!
EPA: How did you find living abroad?
AC: I live here permanently now! It’s very different from living in England but I’m really enjoying it. Everyone speaks in English too, which massively helps!
EPA: Did you expect to have as much success as you did in your first season from a personal point of view?
AC: I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. When I signed for Huddinge IF in the summer I knew there was a lot of potential in the team as there were a lot of good young players. On a personal note I was happy to score a lot of goals. My plan from the start was to put in some good performances hoping that I was going to get picked up from a team in a higher league thankfully that happened!
EPA: How excited are you to make you Division 1 debut?
AC: Very excited. I’m really pleased with the team I’ve signed for IFK Haninge. There is some very good players and the manager is excellent which is a big plus. We will be up against some strong teams this year but it’s something that I’m very much looking forward to.
EPA: When are heading back out to Sweden and is your new deal full time? Will you be making the move to Sweden by yourself?
AC: I came back last week after the Christmas break. We have an intense pre season before the season starts in April. It’s part time however we still train four times a week and play a game on the weekend. The set up is very professional which suits me. With it being part time I can also continue doing my job working in an International English School in Stockholm which I absolutely love. So the football and my job works well.
Thanks to Ashley for answering my questions, you can find him on Twitter here.