Phoenix Rising FC has signed Swedish defender John Stenberg, who has made 86 appearances across the past three seasons in Sweden's second tier.
PHOENIX – Phoenix Rising FC announced on Thursday the club had signed Swedish defender John Stenberg ahead of the 2023 USL Championship season. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Stenberg spent the last two seasons with Swedish second-division side Öster. The 6-foot-3 center back found the back of the net three times in 57 Superettan matches following his signing with Öster ahead of the 2021 season.
“Stenberg is a natural leader,” said Phoenix Rising head coach Juan Guerra. “He fits our style of play and game model very well. He is a competitor that is hungry to be successful. He is fast, athletic and strong physically and mentally. During defensive phases he is very organized, intense and aggressive. During offensive phases, he is calm on the ball and connects a lot of passes. He can play long diagonals and into spaces behind the opposition’s back line. He reads the game very well. He is a great addition to what we want to build on the technical side. His mentality will help create the type of culture we want to have here in Phoenix.”
Stenberg began his professional career as a 23-year-old in the Swedish third division with Carlstad United. He played 51 matches with the club prior to it merging with Karlstad BK to form IF Karlstad in 2019. Stenberg played 18 games for IF Karlstad before enjoying a breakout season with Dalkurd in the Superettan the following year. Stenberg scored four goals in 29 appearances for Dalkurd in 2021.
“At the end of my season here, my agent presented me with a few offers and Phoenix was one of them,” said Stenberg. “It felt very exciting right away. I talked to Juan [Guerra] and it was simply clear for me that this was something I wanted to do. If I was to describe my style of play to a Rising fan, I would say I like to play as a quarterback and move the ball forward. I like to switch the play and knock good passes forward for the offensive players.”