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Markus Holgersson retires, becomes beer nerd

Checking in with the RBNY shield winner as he transitions into a new career

Toronto FC v New York Red Bulls Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

This past winter, towering Swedish defender Markus Holgersson retired after a 16-year, passport stamping professional career that included stops at Wigan Athletic (England), Anorthosis (Cyprus), Aalborg (Denmark), Lorca (Spain), and, of course, the New York Red Bulls. He called it quits after spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons with childhood club Helsingborgs.

Holgersson recently provided with a career retrospective. For those who don’t remember his time with Red Bulls in 2012 and 2013, the then 26-year-old was a completely serviceable – albeit oftentimes unfairly scapegoated – defender, who was a strong passer and distributor of hard tackles. He was a prized signing in the waning embers of the Hans Backe regime before immediately becoming an interloper during the triumphant first Supporters’ Shield winning season under Mike Petke. As Holgersson was keen to note in his regular series for Alltid Fullsatt, he believed there were issues with match strategy and back line organization. His frank assessment shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed his time at the club that ended with a mutual contract termination.

Despite considering joining Red Bulls a major career regret (due to turning down what could have been a better fit in Germany), Holgersson enjoyed the experience of “living in such a fantastic city as New York with all those opportunities.” As is customary in any interview with a player from 2010 through 2014, he touches on playing with Thierry Henry, complementing the legend’s timing and shot placement. Holgersson also notes Juninho’s fantastic touch and dead ball ability, the existence of which seemingly fell outside of Petke’s purview.

Now in retirement, he’s thrown himself into the high-stakes world of alcoholic beverage production. Last April, Holgersson joined fellow former Swedish international defender Andreas Granqvist in becoming a part-owner of RÅÅ Bryggeri, one of Sweden’s largest modern breweries, promising “traditional beer with a modern twist.” His new role includes “finance, sales, and marketing.”

In his final year at Helsingborgs, Holgersson was spending his time off the field working at another company whose owner was a partner at the brewery. For the soon-to-be-retired player, it was love at first sight. “I got to see the brewery and was amazed,” he told “Beer is very interesting, but the craft is also exciting. Our talented brewers Håkan [Widman] and John [Richt] helped me a lot to get into the industry.”

Like most small businesses in the time of COVID-19, RÅÅ is experiencing some struggles. However, the company already made inroads into the nationalized liquor store chain Systembolaget and has “noticed an increase in demand from the larger cities for [its] organic beer.” Recent increased product offerings include gin and disco lemonade.

So if any Red Bulls fan ever finds him or herself in the center of Helsingborg, Sweden, he or she should consider taking a trip five kilometers south to the fishing village of RÅÅ and visit the brewery. Enjoy a “Monkey” featuring “clear notes of pineapple, passion fruit, and mango.” Buy your child a non-alcoholic IPA. Most importantly, demand an audience with Markus Holgersson, thank him for his time at the club, and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.