Felicia Caarls, almost 5,000 miles from home, looks to contribute to a hungry Cardinals team, bringing youth and shooting.
By Jayson Gaston
Felicia Caarls is one of the seven first-year players joining the young Plattsburgh Cardinals women’s basketball team. As a first-year athlete, there are many things you must adjust to, and for Felicia, one of those things is a new country.
Felicia, originally from Östersund, Sweden, is one of the two international recruits joining the Cardinals this season. Although the scenery is different, a constant is the game that Felicia has played since she was young.
“I started at 7 or 8 years old and we had a small team in our city that was boys and girls and mixed ages,” Felicia said. “I just played for fun, but over time it became more serious with games and competition.”
As she continued to play basketball growing up, Felicia would begin to see success playing for her city. What made it even better was the fact her team was coached by her father.
“My dad was coaching for a while when I was younger, so that was really fun,” Felicia said while remembering good times from her early hoop days. “When we started to compete more, we won a lot of away games. Because we lived in a small city, it was really fun to go and travel with the team.”
Last year, during her final season in Sweden, Felicia began to consider her next step in her basketball career. She contacted her agency, which helped her reach out to schools in America. Felicia knew she wanted to play in New York and Plattsburgh eventually became one of the schools on her radar.
“I contacted my agency and they helped me get into contact with a lot of great schools, so I started talking to a lot of schools and coaches,” Felicia said. “Eventually it came down to the academics and the coach here.”
Felicia Caarls will wear #22 in her first season as a Cardinal.
For Cardinals Head Coach Ben Sarraf, Felicia checked all the boxes he was looking for in a recruit.
“She said yes to what I was looking for in a player as a coach,” Sarraf said. “She showed her commitment to getting an education and her academics, which is most important, and she proved to me she was coachable.”
Felicia, who stands at 5-11 and plays a combination of guard and forward, brings a skill set that greatly contributes to the Cardinals.
“Her shooting has continued to be great and she’s really been good with rebounding,” Sarraf said.
Smooth long-range shooting has been one of the main aspects of Felicia’s game. She credits Golden State Warriors point guard and all-time three-point leader in NBA history Stephen Curry as one of the strong influences on her game.
Since coming to the Cardinals this season, Felicia has enjoyed spending time and bonding with her new teammates.
“I really like my teammates. We had an away game last week and it was really fun being able to hang out and talk with my teammates,” Felicia said.
Being in a new country, Felicia commented on some of her observations in America.
“My favorite thing is that basketball is such a big sport here. It’s not as common in Sweden,” Felicia said.
However, she does not like everything the U.S. has to offer.
Felicia said, “My least favorite thing is the food.”