Oskar Martinsson: Chasing a dream

Before going to college, some students may pause for a moment, enjoy a carefree life and wait before plunging headfirst into school again.

But then there are some who have a dream and choose to work hard for it to become a reality, which is exactly what Oskar Martinsson did.

A freshman forward on the Santa Monica College men's soccer team, Martinsson, originally from Sweden, spent nine months with his friends working for a storage company in Oslo, Norway, where he drove a small delivery truck to save money to study abroad.

After graduating from high school in Gothenburg, Sweden, he knew that he wanted to be independent and getting a job seemed to be the right thing to do.

“We would work a lot of hours and make a lot of money," said Martinsson. "It was boring and repetitive, but it was worth it."

Since Martinsson had always wanted to study abroad, a friend who attended SMC for two years recommended the community college.

For Martinsson, choosing SMC was an easy decision to make. He liked that the college is not too expensive, is located near the beach, and has a diverse pool of students from all around the world, not to mention his passion, soccer.

Martinsson's love for soccer started when he was around 6 years old and was playing for a private soccer club, Gilleby IF, in Sweden.

“We don’t really play for our schools like they do in the U.S.," he said. "You play for a club team, everyone does."

Soccer games in Sweden are more physical, especially when playing with older players, said Martinsson.

“Soccer is different in the United States," he said. "In Sweden, soccer is the main sport; it’s the biggest sport. All my friends play it, of course it’s not as big out here as it is in Sweden, but it’s bigger than I thought it would be."

Hailing from another country, Martinsson has bonded with his new teammates and formed strong friendships.

“That’s what is so amazing in soccer, that you get so close," said Martinsson. "Everyone on my team has been very helpful and super friendly."

He is not only enthusiastic about his new friends, but also about the team and their chances for success.

“I think our team has what it takes to win,” he said.

Already becoming a standout, Martinsson wants to score more goals and deliver more assists while helping out his teammates as much as he possibly can.

“When you are out on the field, you have to make quick decisions," he said. "You have to be one step ahead of the defenders."

Since Martinsson has to pay for his own tuition, he is not sure how much longer he will be able to stay in the U.S. after completing his first semester at SMC. Even though his family is very supportive of his decision to study abroad, Martinsson's future is unclear, which is why he tries to take it one semester at a time.