Former Iowa forward Alyssa Walker signs professional contract in Sweden

Walker competed in Iowa for a season as a graduate transfer before joining the pro ranks.

Dimia Burrell

University of Iowa forward Alyssa Walker pushes University of Minnesota defenseman Abi Frandsen to move the ball around University of Minnesota defenseman Delaney Stekr during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at UI Soccer Complex on Thursday, October 21, 2021. The Hawkeyes beat the Gophers 1-0.

Former Iowa football striker Alyssa Walker will be leaving the cornfields of Iowa and moving to a town near the Baltic Sea to extend her playing career.

Walker signed a one-year contract with IFK Kalmar in south-eastern Sweden to play football professionally. She and the club officially struck a deal during Thanksgiving week.

“I didn’t expect it to come so quickly,” Walker said of his professional contract. “I thought I was going to have to end up having a lot more conversations with a lot of different coaches and stuff like that thinking it was going to be harder for me to get into the professional playing zone, and that n was not the case. “

Walker will begin his career with IFK Kalmar in January. The club will play their first game of the 2022 season in March.

Shortly after Iowa lost to Rutgers in the Big Ten semi-finals on November 4, Walker began looking for his next playing opportunity.

Walker’s mom created a highlight reel to distribute to professional football clubs. Iowa head coach Dave DiIanni and former Richmond associate coach Mika Elovaara helped Walker find potential suitors.

Elovaara recruited Walker from Richmond and trained her there. Walker transferred to Iowa after the 2021 season.

In the end, Walker didn’t choose IFK Kalmar because her coaches pushed her towards the club. Rather, Walker chose to sign with the club because his high school teammate goalkeeper Aubrei Corder joined IFK Kalmar last season. Corder played at the University of Nebraska from 2016 to 2019.

RELATED: Iowa football graduate Alyssa Walker boosts Hawkeyes offense

IFK Kalmar was impressed with Walker’s film, as well as his speed and agility figures. After a few 30-minute conversations with sporting director and IFK head coach Kalmar, Walker was offered a contract.

“I am very grateful to the Hawkeye soccer program, the coaches, the school, my teammates because none of this would have been possible without them,” Walker said. “So it’s such a blessing to be able to come to Iowa and finish my college career. “

Elovaara said he is confident Walker will be successful in the professional game as she is quick and relentlessly prepares.

“She has the right kind of mentality, but she is also very determined to improve outside of team training,” said Elovaara. “So I would say because of the physical abilities she already has and because she’s committed to developing her game, whether it’s finishing or getting stronger or in shape, I think that it’s a combination of the two. “

When Walker transferred to Iowa, DiIanni said she had two goals: to improve and become a professional. In the end, Walker hit the two benchmarks she set for herself.

DiIanni believes Walker is the sixth player in Iowa football history to play professionally. Cloé Lacasse is the only other former Hawkeye on an active professional soccer roster as of Sunday.

“I think Alyssa has been a wonderful addition to our program,” said DiIanni. “I think she’s given us as much as we’ve given her in terms of experience and we still think of her as a Hawkeye.”

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