Lærke Søndergaard: Carterville Soccer’s New Danish Defender

Lærke Søndergaard: Carterville Soccers New Danish Defender

Lærke Søndergaard, a foreign exchange student from Denmark, is a junior attending Carterville High School this 2023-24 school year. Back home in Denmark Søndergaard enjoyed playing football, or as Americans may know it, she enjoys playing soccer. Søndergaard plans to continue playing soccer while she is in the United States with the Lady Lions soccer team coming up in the spring. 

Coming to the United States, Søndergaard has realized there are major differences between Americans and Danish people. She explains how the people living here in the United States are more open and more social overall. In Denmark it is not very common to be as social and talk to strangers often.

Additionally, she also spoke about soccer differences in the United States compared to Denmark. Søndergaard explains that in Denmark there are no high school sports like we have in the United States.

“I think it will be different having your teammates as people who surround you everyday,” she said.

Søndergaard also touched on how in Denmark you play with kids from all different schools on club teams rather than playing on a team with the kids you see walking in the halls next to you everyday at school. She explained how teams in Denmark meet once or twice a week and only play on the weekends rather than having practice everyday after school and playing games during the weekdays.   

In regards to the name of the sport, what we call soccer she knows the sport as football. Søndergaard was asked her thoughts on the American word choice of soccer, to which responded with , “ We call it football, and it does make sense. I am getting used to it being called soccer, but I still think it should be called football.”

When asked about what she was known for as a player in Denmark, Søndergaard explained how she was best known for her defensive abilities and says she plans to keep playing defense this year. 

When it comes to the academic differences between home and here, Søndergaard is technically a junior here at CHS, but she has already graduated back home in Denmark. The 10th year of education in Denmark is not mandatory, and education in Denmark is only mandatory for children ranging in the ages of 6 years old to 16 years old. Søndergaard also shared how the bell schedule and movement from room to room is becoming more comfortable for her day-to-day compared to fact that in Denmark students stay in one classroom all day long.

Not only is the new academic layout something she’s catching on to, but the thought of high attended games sparks some interest for the Lady Lions newest defender.

“In Europe, soccer is a really big deal, but over here in the United States I think it is more American football. Soccer is so big in Europe,” she said, hopeful for some loud support during the Lady Lions season.  

When it comes down the to the differences between home and Carterville for Søndergaard, she shared with us some things we might want to know about Danish culture.

“Our culture is very old school, we are more ahead in some places. However, the United States is a big country compared to Denmark, so everything is so small, it is a big difference.” 

While thinking of him, Søndergaard  stated that overall she misses her “family and friends the most. However, [she’s] lucky that it is easy to Face Time or even take a call.” 

Now that you have gotten to know our newest exchange student, be sure to support her and the Lady Lions soccer team this spring!

About the Contributor
Kenadi Compton
Kenadi Compton, Sport Reporter
Kenadi competes on the Carterville dance and track & field team. She enjoys unsweetened applesauce.