This story about St. John’s alumnus Joakim Svedhem appeared recently on the Potomac State College website:
“This week of the Potomac State Player Diary, we are featuring sophomore right-handed pitcher Joakim Svedhem in Part 1 of a 2-part diary on our two players that were born across the pond in Europe! Joakim was born in Uccle, Belgium, a close suburb of Brussels. His parents Henrik and Romy made the move from Uccle to Waterloo, Belgium with their two sons, Jesper and Joakim (Joakim being the youngest), where they still live today. Joakim grew up in a very cultured environment, learning to communicate in 4 different languages, being fluent in 3 of them: English, Dutch, and French.
Joakim started playing baseball at the young age of 4 in Uccle, for a Belgian youth league. As he got a little older, he played for his school, St. John’s International School, and English-speaking institute, in Waterloo. Aside from high school ball, Joakim also played travel or club ball in the offseason for the Borgerhout Squirrels. St. John’s international School consisted of about 800 kids. As Joakim became of age to start looking for places to play at the next level, he turned to the United States for an opportunity to play college baseball. Researching the top Junior College Program’s in the country, Joakim came across Potomac State College. His research found that Potomac State had a rich history of winning and competing in the Junior College World Series. Joakim contacted Head Coach Doug Little in hopes of getting a shot to play for him and the Catamounts.
Making the decision to come overseas to the United States, according to Joakim, was “Easy” he said. “I had come here to the US several times on vacation with my family, so I was already familiar with the people and the culture,” Joakim told me. He had also attended a baseball skill showcase in West Lake, Georgia.
“I knew I wanted to come to the United States for college a while ago. So it was a no-brainer.” Joakim said when asked if it was a hard decision to leave his home country for Keyser, West Virginia.
“My favourite thing about living in West Virginia is the outdoors,” he answered when asked what he loved about West Virginia.
Joakim was welcomed by the team right away; making little to no effort to make friends both on and off the field. His education at St. John’s International School prepared him for wide horizons and encounters with people from all walks of life and ethnicities.
“There is a big difference in the level of competition,” he said when I asked him what the difference was in European baseball and baseball in the United States.
He said “The game moves a lot faster over here (the United States). Players are much more competitive and better all around.” Joakim has acclimated himself with the faster style of play. He has worked his tail off on the field, working on pitching, and in the weight room, strengthening his body to throw harder and more consistently.
Joakim is a Sports Management major in his sophomore year here at Potomac State. He hopes to get his Bachelor’s degree in Sports management while continuing his baseball career at a 4-year university. After baseball, Joakim wants to go into the marketing side of the Sports Business. He would ideally be employed by a professional sports team.
Potomac State Baseball has players from many parts of the United States, and the recruiting reach even extends overseas. Joakim is a valuable part of the Catamount team and more importantly the Catamount family.”