Joel Qwiberg's desire to be closer to Colombian culture paved way for SJ

Joel Qwiberg did not just join the San Jose Earthquakes for a new challenge in his career. He also did it to move closer to the culture he holds dear.

The Earthquakes signed Qwiberg to a multi-year deal earlier this month, and the 25-year-old left back is excited about the prospects of playing in MLS. Part of that is because he will have the opportunity to prove himself in another league after spending the bulk of his career in Sweden, but another is because playing in San Jose will bring him closer to his roots.

"One of the reasons to go play in the United States has to do with being closer to Colombia and the culture," Qwiberg told "It is part of my goals to learn Spanish with teammates and with the community in the city."

Qwiberg was born in Colombia, but a family adopted him when he was just six-months old. The defender has spent most of his life in Sweden, has represented some of the country's youth teams, and has not ever gone back to his native land in South America.

Still, he identifies more with Colombia than the Scandinavian country.

"I see myself like a Colombian who played in Sweden and not like a Sweden with Colombian roots," said Qwiberg, who has a tattoo on his chest that says 'Colombia'.

Read more [in Spanish--ed.] at