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SSFC Spotlight: Kristoffer Lund claims title with BK Häcken

The dual national defender had a massive season.

OB Odense vs FC Midtjylland - Danish Cup Sydbankpokalen Photo by Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

While considered nontraditional, there are a few leagues committed to competing on a spring-to-fall schedule. In addition to Major League Soccer ending the 2022 season, an American dual-national player recently claimed a title for his club in Europe. Denmark-born Kristoffer Lund Hansen held a key role on the back line for Bollklubben Häcken and won the Swedish Allsvenskan. The 20-year-old defender impressed with his performances, appearing to be on the precipice of a transfer that would raise his profile.

Born in the town of Kerteminde, Denmark, Lund played with his local club’s academy, joining the sport later, initially competing in gymnastics and swimming. In 2015, he moved away from home to join FC Midtjylland after being scouted, dealing with the youthful struggles of homesickness and isolation from peers. The club signed the then-15-year-old to a professional contract two years later. The defender slowly progressed through the club’s ranks, including competing with the squad that reached the quarterfinal round of the UEFA Youth League. His first-team debut came in February of 2021, appearing as a substitute in a 2-1 win over Odense BK in the Pokalen (Danish Cup). His first start and domestic league appearance came the next month in a 1-0 loss to Aarhus.

In April of 2021, Lund moved to Esbjerg fB, which was competing in the second tier, with management hoping to utilize the “young, dynamic fullback with a good left leg and exciting potential.” A few months later before having made a single appearance for the West Jutland club, he transferred for the second time in months, joining BK Häcken of the Swedish Allsvenskan for an acceptable financial compensation and signing a contract lasting through 2024.

“Kristoffer was brought up in Midtjylland where he played a few A-team matches both as a right and left back,” said sporting director Martin Ericsson. “He is above all a very good defensive player, who is well-schooled, professional, and determined. We have received a very good impression of him and the good references we have received also confirmed what we have seen ourselves.”

Lund quickly incorporated into the club picture, earning a spot in the lineup after Martin Olsson was sold to Malmö. He started the final 15 matches of the season for Häcken, as Getingarna (the Wasps) finished at 12th in the table. Despite enduring a few bad moments while acclimating to regular first-team football while dealing with living in a new country, the experience was “incredibly positive” and “exceeded all expectations.”

After being named a top Allsvenskan talent by the CIES Football Observatory, the young defender developed into a top performer this season, combining with fellow American dual-national Tomas Totland at the other fullback position. Dealing with a few injury and yellow card issues, Lund made 27 appearances across all competitions and contributed seven assists — three during a key stretch run at the end of the schedule — as Häcken claimed the first title in the club’s 82-year history. He improved in nearly every statistical category and thrived in the dynamic tactical style: hitting more incisive passes, becoming sharper in the attack, and generally becoming more involved.

His success and American passport have drawn reported transfer interest from clubs in Major League Soccer, notably expansion side St. Louis CITY SC, although any specific details were unknown to the player who enjoys his current level and development path. “I didn’t know that myself,” Lund shared recently. “Of course, MLS has grown and soccer in the USA is getting bigger and bigger every day. But for me it is perfect to be in Sweden and Häcken right now… There has been a little [interest], but nothing concrete. It is clear that you look around a bit. MLS teams are very interested in those who have US passports because of the rules for foreign players there.”

At the international level, Lund is eligible to represent Denmark and the USMNT through his mother. He competes with the former program, including making an appearance with the U-17 squad during UEFA European U-17 Championship qualification. De Rød-Hvide (The Red and Whites) recently named him to the roster for the U-20 team with an eye on constructing next year’s U-21 group.

Standing around 6’1”, Lund is capable of playing at every position across the back line, serving best as a pressing left back who hugs the touchline and delivers scything tackles. Cited as one of the fastest players and best distributors in Sweden, he is a swashbuckling attacker looking to join the counter-attack with driving dribbling runs deep into the final third and highly-accurate crosses. The defender describes himself as a “dynamic player with speed and strength,” who “plays with a lot of energy and never gives up.” His ability to quickly receive the ball and immediately release a pass springs teammates and catches opponents off guard.

“One of the most complete fullbacks in [the Allsvenskan] is the 20-year-old [Dane],” writes Alejandro Arroyo for Driblab. “No other fullback, left or right, in the Swedish league mixed so well in defensive and offensive metrics. [He is] a very competitive player with very clear ideas in attack to progress or create chances and a very remarkable performance in every defensive duel, both [on the ground] and in aerial duels. He has provided assists this season, [and is a] talent to watch for top European leagues.”

Winning a league title is an accomplishment that goes unrealized by many players during their careers. At the age of 20, Lund has already checked that box and managed to take on a key role in crafting Häcken’s success. While his international future remains undetermined, a potential move to a bigger league could make him a more intriguing option for Denmark and the United States. If a hypothetical transfer leads to MLS, then the latter program might enjoy increased opportunities to recruit him.