Axel Sjöberg

Axel Sjöberg (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈaksɛl ˇɧøːbærj]; born 8 March 1991) is a Swedish footballer who plays as a centre back for Major League Soccer for Columbus Crew SC

Axel Sjöberg
Personal information
Date of birth (1991-03-08) 8 March 1991
Place of birth Stockholm, Sweden
Height 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Columbus Crew SC
Youth career
1995–1997 Helenelunds IK
1997–2009 Djurgårdens IF
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2014 Marquette Golden Eagles 63 (11)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2010 Sollentuna United FF 20 (3)
2012–2013 Thunder Bay Chill 29 (6)
2015–2019 Colorado Rapids 88 (3)
2020– Columbus Crew SC 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 September 2019



Sjöberg began his career with Helenelunds IK in his hometown at age four before moving to the academy of Djurgårdens IF, long-time member of the Allsvenskan, the top tier of the Swedish football league system at age 6 in 1997.[1] Sjöberg stayed with the club until 2009, when he signed with Sollentuna United FF of Division 2 for 2010.[2] Sjöberg scored three goals during the season[3] and helped the club finish second in the league, seven points behind IK Frej.[4] Sjöberg was selected for the club's Player of the Year award following the season. The club's second-place finish was enough to earn a berth in the 2011 Svenska Cupen.[2] Sjöberg did not appear in the cup matches as Sollentuna advanced out of the preliminary round with a shootout victory over Nyköpings BIS[5] before being knocked out in the next round with a 0–4 defeat to Vasalunds IF.[6]

College and semi-professional

In 2011, Sjöberg committed to play college soccer with the Marquette Golden Eagles of Marquette University. In his four years with the team before graduating, Sjöberg appeared in (and started) 63 matches and tallied eleven goals and 9 assists. Beginning with his second year with the team, Sjöberg played every minute of every match. For his performances, he was the recipient of numerous awards including multiple Big East Player of the Week awards and being named one of the 10 best defenders in college soccer by[2]

For the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Sjöberg also played semi-professional soccer for the Thunder Bay Chill of the Premier Development League, the fourth tier of the United States soccer league system. He and two other Marquette teammates were invited to the club after the Chill played a friendly match with Marquette in Milwaukee.[1] In 2012, he appeared in 15 matches and tallied two goals and an assist.[7] The following season, he appeared in 14 matches and scored four goals for the Canadian club.[8] In 2012, he helped the Chill win the Heartland Division championship. In 2013 the Chill were crowned regular seasons champions of the PDL[9] and advanced to the final match in which they lost to the Austin Aztex. Sjöberg was named the club's Defender of the Year for both seasons.[2]


In July 2014, Sjöberg went on trial with GAIS of the Swedish Superettan.[10] During the trial, he appeared in one friendly match, a 3–0 victory over Lärje-Angered IF on 16 July.[11] Also in 2014, Sjöberg trialed with SK Sigma Olomouc of the Czech Synot Liga. After scoring two goals in three matches with the reserve team, he was offered a contract.[12]

In January 2015, Sjöberg was invited to the 2015 MLS Combine[13] and was projected by some MLS analysts to be a potential first round draft pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.[14] On the night before the draft, Major League Soccer analyst Jonathan Yardley described Sjöberg as the most MLS-ready defender available.[15] Sjöberg went on to be drafted 14th overall by the Colorado Rapids after they swapped picks with the Columbus Crew SC to take him.[16]

Sjöberg made his professional debut on 7 March 2015 in Colorado's opening match of the 2015 season. He started the eventual 0–0 draw with the Philadelphia Union and was credited with keeping the defense organized after the Rapids went down a man in the 68th minute. About Sjöberg being a starter, Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said, "It wasn't a part of the plan but that's why we do preseason. These two guys (Sjöberg and fellow rookie Dominique Badji) have proven that they're fully capable and ready to contribute to the team right now."[17]

Sjöberg scored his first professional goal for the Rapids on 21 May 2016 in a 1–0 victory over the Seattle Sounders FC. The game-winning goal secured ensured that Colorado moved back atop the overall Major League Soccer standings after being displaced momentarily by FC Dallas who were victorious earlier in the matchday.[18]

During his first 11 starts of the 2016 Major League Soccer season, the Colorado Rapids conceded only seven goals which, among other qualities, made him an early contender for the MLS Defender of the Year award and for a spot on the 2016 MLS All-Star Game roster according to one MLS columnist.[19] Although he was not named to the all-star squad, another MLS columnist named Sjöberg one of the top five most surprising omissions from the roster as the player was a consistent contributor to the best defense in the league to that point of the season.[20]

In 2017, Sjöberg started the Rapids' home and away openers before picking up a hamstring injury in the away opener. Sjöberg returned to the lineup on 21 May 2017.

At the conclusion of the 2019 season Sjöberg was placed on waivers by Colorado, ending his tenure with the club.[21]

On 4 December 2019, Sjöberg was selected up off waivers by Columbus Crew SC.[22]

Career statistics

As of 11 September 2019[23][24][25][26]
Club Season League Cup[lower-alpha 1] Continental Other Total
Sollentuna United FF 2010 Division 2 203203
Thunder Bay Chill 2012[7] PDL 1521[lower-alpha 2]0162
2013[8] 1444[lower-alpha 2]0184
Total 296000050346
Colorado Rapids 2015 MLS 14000140
2016 312104[lower-alpha 3]0362
2017 19110201
2018 1700000170
2019 70100080
Total 883300040953
Career total 1371230009014912
  1. All appearances in the U.S. Open Cup
  2. Appearance(s) in the PDL playoffs
  3. Appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs




  1. Dykhoff, Johan. "Intervju med Axel Sjöberg, svensk collegefotbollsspelare i USA" (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  2. "Marquette Bio". Marquette University. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  3. "2010 Skytteliga" (in Swedish). Smalands FF. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  4. "Kontaktuppgifter och tävlingar 2010 – Sollentuna FF" (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  5. "Preliminary Round-2011". SvFF. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  6. "First Round-2011". SvFF. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  7. "2012 Thunder Bay Chill statistics". Premier Development League. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. "2013 Thunder Bay Chill statistics". Premier Development League. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  9. "Standings-PDL 2013". USL PDL. Archived from the original on 7 October 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  10. Möller, Robin. "GAIS testar fyra spelare" (in Swedish). GAIS. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  11. "Spelarfakta-Axel Sjöberg". GAIS. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  12. Cummings, Marco. "10 Things: Height, hockey and Wall Street with Rapids giant Axel Sjoberg". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  13. Anderson, Eric. "Marquette's Sjoberg among additions to MLS Combine". Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  14. "'s 2015 Mock SuperDraft: Pre-Combine edition". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  15. "'s 2015 Mock SuperDraft: Post-Combine edition". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  16. "Colorado Rapids acquire two, big central defenders in the MLS SuperDraft". Colorado Rapids. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  17. Cummings, Marco. "Colorado Rapids earn a hard fought point in Philadelphia behind two rookies, rebuilt backline". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  18. Manuca, David. "Rapids win to stay on top, Impact continue winless run". Goal. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  19. Doyle, Matthew. "Armchair Analyst: Sjoberg has big chance to prove All-Star credentials". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  20. Rosano, Nicholas. "The five biggest snubs from the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game roster". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  23. "Axel Sjöberg at". Elite Football. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  24. "Axel Sjöberg at". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  25. Axel Sjöberg at Soccerway. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  26. Axel Sjöberg at Major League Soccer
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