As the fans were filling the seats at Tenney Stadium to watch the Marist men’s soccer match against Saint Joseph’s University, there was one fan that stuck out. Some fans wonder, who is this huge man screaming and yelling in a foreign language?
That fan is Tobias Sjoberg, a near seven-foot Marist men’s basketball player. This is not the only match that he has ever watched. Sjoberg attends every Red Foxes home match in support of Marcus Ginman, an attacking forward on the Marist men’s soccer team.
The two have something in common. They both traveled over 3,700 miles from Sweden to come to Marist College to pursue athletics and academics. Even on cloudy and rainy days, Sjoberg will sit in the stands the full 90 minutes to cheer on Ginman.
The two met each other freshman year in First Year Seminar, and their bond grew ever since. “I knew there was a Swedish freshman coming to the basketball team and we ended up in the First Year Seminar class and I knew instantly this guy is Swedish,” said Ginman.
A bond formed between them in that class. “I think there are only two Swedish guys in this school and just having someone like him to show support, it reminds you of home a little bit,” said Ginman. “it’s just great.”
Ginman was out with an injury against Saint Joseph’s, where Marist went on to win 1-0, but Sjoberg was right there watching the game. “Even if Marcus is injured, I know he does his best to be here and does his best all the time and that is something to be celebrated,” said Sjoberg. “Even if he is not playing, I still cheer for the team.”
Ginman does not take for granted having Sjoberg as a friend. When asked what it means to have Sjoberg come even when he is hurt, Ginman explained, “It shows what kind of guy he is,” he said. “In a way it’s hilarious and in a way it’s very flattering too.”
Since their freshmen years, the two have been at each other’s sides. “We’ve always had each other’s backs,” said Sjoberg. “It’s a safety, it feels really nice to have him here because both of us have the same kind of cultural background.”
Sjoberg has felt comfortable watching Ginman and the soccer team play. “It’s cool for me to see a Swedish guy playing on the team,” he said. “I feel at home coming to the games.” Sjoberg brings a Swedish flag to every game, raising it in the air after goals or whenever he feels like it.
“I brought the flag here because I wanted to hang it in my room, but then I was like well why don’t I bring the flag to support him.” said Sjoberg. From there on it became a tradition for him to bring the flag to every match in cheering on Ginman.
The last home game against Gonzaga, Ginman scored a goal and Sjoberg was overwhelmed with joy, watching his friend put the ball in the back of the net. “It’s so nice to see him develop from defender to attacker, said Sjoberg. “Now that he scored it just felt amazing.”
Sjoberg also had pride in waving his Swedish flag after the goal. “I was sitting by the opponent fans, so it was nice to stick the Swedish flag up their face and scream,” he said. Ginman noticed and described, “Last game I scored a goal and I look up and I saw that Swedish flag and it means a lot,” he said.
Even the Marist head coach knows and loves their friendship and Sjoberg’s passion for soccer. “It’s awesome, I’m happy all our fans are here, but it’s nice that he has a little home cooking you know and it’s great that they support each other,” said head coach Matt Viggiano. “I love it man and the passion around the world I want to see it every day so it’s great that he is here.”
Come winter, Ginman will be at the basketball games supporting Sjoberg in his Swedish scarf around his neck. “I always go to his games and everything,” said Ginman. “I will especially be there for Tobi.”
There great friendship has continued into their senior year. “He’s funny, it’s always nice having someone there,” said Ginman. “Whenever you miss home you can always talk to Tobi.” The two share a strong bond with one another and it is not going away anytime soon.
Nothing is going to stop Sjoberg from missing a single game of Ginman’s final season. “No matter what,” he said, “I’ll be here.”
Edited by Ryan Loeffler