A lot has changed over the past few years for the Houston Dynamo. From a new general manager to a new head coach and technical staff to the upcoming arrival of midfielder Hector Herrera this summer, the organization has seen an overhaul that is giving fans hope for the future that it hasn’t experienced in a long time. That being said, not everything is totally new.
Defender Adam Lundkvist is one of the team’s longest tenured players, having arrived at the club from his native Sweden in 2018. Since then, Adam has established himself as a constant presence on the pitch, starting 88 games during his tenure.
Perhaps just as important as his play on the field has been Lundkvist’s leadership in a locker room that has many new faces. That leadership resulted in Adam being named captain for three matches this season while regular captain and defender Tim Parker was recovering from an injury. According to Lundkvist, he did not know that the honor was coming until he walked into the locker room and saw the armband at his locker.
“I had no idea. Before the game, Paulo didn't tell me, none of the training staff told me,” Lundkvist said. “When I went in, I saw my jersey where it usually is on my chair where I sit before the game, and I saw the armband laying there next to it. I saw it and I felt proud. I wanted to tell everyone, but I had to stay cool.”
While he did not know that the armband was coming, he said that he embraced the responsibility once he did become aware of the situation.
“When I saw the armband on my chair when I went into the locker room, I got very happy,” Lundkvist said. “I felt this responsibility to take ownership. I try to do this all the time in every training in every game but when I saw that armband, it meant something extra. The biggest feeling I had was that I was proud. I've been working very hard for this club and for this team over the years, so this was a very proud moment for me.”
One way that Lundkvist has established himself as a leader this season is by working his best to ensure that the new players that are adjusting to a new team and a new city feel as comfortable as possible. He knows what it was like to be new to the club and uses that experience today.
“I remember when I was a young player and I came up to the first team, I remember the guys that helped me,” Lundkvist said. “I remember what they did for me and how they made me feel so comfortable. I was just a young kid, and they made me feel comfortable and I'm trying to be that type of guy that they can talk to about anything.”
Lundkvist knows that feeling comfortable in a new environment requires work off the pitch, as much as on it. It is for this reason that Lundkvist makes sure to keep the conversation to more than just soccer.
"I like to talk about stuff that doesn't involve any football at all,” Lundkvist said. “Just talk about life and allow them to express themselves. I want to be that guy that they can always turn to for advice.”
Despite being named captain for these three matches this season, Lundkvist knows that Parker is still the team captain when he is on the pitch.
“Tim is our captain. I want to also make that clear. I was chosen to be the vice-captain this time, which for me was a huge honor,” Lundkvist said.
Whether he is selected as captain or not, Lundkvist is going to keep up the same positive attitude he always tries to carry himself with. That is something that is not going to change, regardless of who is wearing the armband.
"One thing for me is I'm always trying to be happy. I have moments on the field that I can get really angry, I can get really grumpy when stuff doesn't go my way, but deep down I'm always a very happy guy. I like to joke around, I like to make guys feel welcome and I really enjoy that role. Being here a long time, I have a great opportunity to be that guy."