Sports Stories

If you were to pull any Sedonan off the street, you would be hard-pressed to find an individual with as much life experience or business knowledge as Johan Lagercrantz.

The 42-year-old Stockholm, Sweden, native has been living in Sedona since the summer of 2015, but his world travels started more than a decade prior.

Lagercrantz was a professional soccer player who came up in his childhood club, second-division Lidingö, debuting with the first team at 18. He accepted an offer to play in Japan in 1994, but being a long-time professional was never his goal.

“I was good at playing soccer, but I also felt that I’m not one of those guys that are going to make it like professional or international ... this is not going to be my life forever in that sense,” Lagercrantz said.

After six months, he returned home to begin his university studies. He dropped out after a couple of years when he was one of 10 students hand-picked by Lars-Henrik Friis Molin to work at an internet startup called Jobline on the side; that company was eventually bought out by

His connection with Friis Molin, like other connections he had made during his life, would prove fruitful later on.

Giving Back to the Community

Lagercrantz and Reuben Philo paired up as the co-coaches of the Sedona Red Rock High School boys soccer team for the 2016-17 season, leading the team to a 9-2 overall record and a first round playoff appearance.

“That was a fun thing to do, and it also felt like a way to get more involved in Sedona and give something back because I had the time to do it,” Lagercrantz said.

Community initiatives is one of his favorite things about America; private citizens in the community taking the time on their own to help those who are less fortunate, whereas the Swedish government uses taxpayer money to do it for them.

When one player on the Scorpions team needed help paying for a concussion screening, Lagercrantz was able to lend a helping hand. Same when some of his son’s classmates cannot afford to go on a field trip.

Family decisions

In 2000, Lagercrantz was starting a business and playing for a team in Thailand when he and his American wife, Oona, learned they were expecting their first-born, Lova, so they moved back to Sweden. The couple knew they wanted their children to have an American experience, so they decided to move before Lova was too old.

Oona’s mother lives in Sedona, which made the decision of where simple.

“I wanted my kids to be in the U.S. school system,” Lagercrantz said. “I wanted it to be a part of their identity and to be confident with the language.”

The couple and their three children — 15-year-old Lova, 12-year-old Ocean and 4-year-old Coby — enjoy life in Sedona, but it is not like they said goodbye to Sweden forever.

The family moves back during the summer to be on the family’s cattle farm, which is one of seven companies in which Johan is involved. His roles in the companies vary as much as the type of companies themselves; he merely invests in some while at others he is a partner, board member or chairman of the board.

International Man of Business

The types of companies span a wide range: A clothing brand, a Sprouts-esque grocery chain, a recruitment website for refugees in Sweden, a game show-type party center for parties and team-building events. He also works with a temp agency and a website that points users in the direction of their study interests.

His involvement in the various companies was not random, he already knew the people who were starting them. The clothing company is run by two brothers with whom Lagercrantz played soccer. Molin started the refugee recruitment website.

“All of my business relations come from mutual relationships from the past,” Lagercrantz said. “It’s fun to have [financial] interests in different areas, so you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

Not to mention Lagercrantz accomplishes this all from his home in Sedona. Every morning he has Skype meetings with coworkers in Sweden, and travels there four to five times yearly to meet face-to-face.

Because of his involvement in myriad companies, he has learned a great deal about many industries. Examples range from how to run a cattle farm, to the certifications needed for materials to manufacture a down jacket and the long process behind producing clothing, to needing a good business model in order to open multiple grocery stores.

The Lagercrantz family will leave Sedona to return to Sweden for the summer, but the American adventure is not over; the family expects to move to San Diego in the fall.