Belushi’s Presents: Player Spotlight – Isabelle Karlsson

Each week, AFL Europe in combination with Belushi’s will take a look at one of our star players competing in fixtures across the continent in Player Spotlight. 

A real pioneer for women’s footy in Sweden, Isabelle Karlsson was a part of the initial training sessions in 2013 and has been playing Australian Football ever since.

Not entirely interested in playing the sport from the beginning, Isabelle’s work colleague took her down to a training session where she really enjoyed herself, even with the ‘weird shaped ball.’

Attending multiple training sessions, Isabelle found the more she got involved, the more she realised how this was the sport for her and has been a real passion of hers for many years now.

As she started to become more involved in the game whilst playing for the Port Malmo Lynx, Isabelle realised just how much this was helping her to enjoy life and her overall mental well being.

“I wasn’t feeling very well mentally at the time I started playing footy. Footy gave me something to concentrate on and it made my problems seem smaller. I often left training feeling a lot happier. Also, I loved the physicality of the game and kicking was something I could do all day. Footy has also introduced me to some of the best people I know,” said Isabelle.

Playing the game for seven years now, Isabelle has become one of Sweden’s most accomplished women’s footballers and has had a chance to really improve her game.

Isabelle’s skills are at the peak of their powers and being a good kick and someone her team can rely on in all parts of the ground, she is a vital part of any team she plays for.

“I’ve got an accurate kick and I’m good at getting our team out of trouble in our defensive half,” said Isabelle.

Not only improving her game play in AFL , Isabelle is also studying to become a Swedish and history teacher, and feels footy is a great way to escape and relax from the pressure of writing her thesis.

“Footy practice and fitness training is a great way for me to shift my focus and do something less academic for a while,” said Isabelle.

A great part of playing the game of AFL in Europe is experiencing the game in all types of countries, which Isabelle has already experienced.

She describes playing against the Glasgow Sharks in Scotland as one of her favourite experiences, getting to explore an exciting and different country, while also getting to be a part of some high quality footy.

Isabelle has taken part in multiple Champions League tournaments with the Lynx side and  represented her country, Sweden, at the highest level in the Euro Cup event.

In exciting times for Sweden they had their best finish in the Euro Cup 2018, in third place and feel like over the next few years they can be a real threat to be the best side in the continent.

Winning the 2018 Women’s defender award in Port Malmo adds to Isabelle’s accolades, which was well deserved being one of the most reliable players in Europe currently.

Loving the emergence of the AFLW in Australia, Isabelle describes the passion and drive for the sport that she has learnt from these watching these professional women playing from the other side of the world.

“Me and my teammates are following AFLW closely and loving every moment of it. It’s an inspiration for us and a source of learning. I think AFLW will be a boost for players in Europe to work harder and aspire to become professionals.”

Continually helping the growth of the game and in the continent, Isabelle is a model team player and someone that any club would be lucky to have.

Her involvement to teach new Swedish players, fill in to support both Denmark and Norway teams of the past, Isabelle is doing some great work and is excited to continue her footy career in the future.


Special thanks to Belushi’s for helping grow the game in Europe

Liam McAllion – AFL Europe