Former Jackrabbit women’s soccer player Kayla Braffet has realized her dreams of playing professional soccer this April, signing a contract with Lidköpen FC in Lidköping, Sweden.
The former Harrisburg High School boys’ soccer coach has already appeared in two games for the club, logging 120 minutes in the attack for a team in the seventh-largest city of Sweden.
Braffet spent the 2016 summer with the WPSL’s Minnesota TwinStars, and a year ago made the move to Chicago to pursue soccer more seriously. She served as a practice player with the Chicago RedStars of the WPSL, and went to work at a law firm in the area while embracing the challenge of pursuing soccer full-time.
She trained over the winter at Bridges FC in Chicago, competing with a group of male and female professional players, along with members of the national team.
“The environment is super competitive and was a great place for me to work on my speed of play and first touch,” Braffet said.
The organization had an agent with contacts in Sweden, who put Braffet in contact with Lidköpen FC, a team in the Elitettan Division (the second-highest level in Sweden).
“I came on a trial in early April and was quickly asked to sign on,” Braffet said.
Lidköpen FC was promoted last season to the current league, and according to Braffet will “look to be competitive and finish in the middle to top-third of the pack.”
She has enjoyed her time in Lidköping thus far, sharing a small cottage with a fellow American on the roster while immersing herself in the culture.
“One Swedish tradition I am loving is Fika, which means you gather with a group for coffee and cake,” Braffet said. “We have Fika every day provided for us, so needless to say I am enjoying this tradition.”
She’s used that time to grow closer to her teammates and coaches, who do speak English, but has learned some of the Swedish language to help with the transition.
This isn’t the first time overseas for Braffet, who studied abroad in France to finish her degree.
In an earlier interview with GoJacks.com, Braffet mentioned the thrill of mixing her French major and love of soccer together while serving as a practice player for a team in Paris.
Braffet finished her Jackrabbit career as the all-time leader in games played (80), spending more than 4,900 minutes on the field while notching 18 assists and 19 goals (56 points) between 2008-11.