Gaärsen playing for Cherry Trees in 2013.
|Full name||Fredårik Gaärsen|
|Year of birth||1985|
|Place of birth||Cherry Trees, Craitland|
|2003–19||Cherry Trees FC|
|2007||→ Kingsland Mavericks (loan)|
|* Appearances (Goals) |
Player has received at least one call-up for any emboldened national teams
Fredårik "Freddie" Gaärsen is a Craitish former-footballer who last played for Cherry Trees FC, with whom he spent his entire permanent career. Until his retirement in mid-2019, he captained the Craitish national side, and is both his nation's most capped player and highest goalscorer. Exclusively a forward, Gaärsen is often cited as one of the most talented footballers of his generation, garnering many team and individual accolades at both club and international level. He is a member of Craitland's "Golden Generation".
Gaärsen began his professional career by signing with Cherry Trees FC in 2003 aged 18, for the inaugural League 1 season. He was given the team's number 16 jersey initially, and played a supportive role to Alexis Tereminus, and brothers Zyx and Jorgeņ Lydveldtsen in his first three seasons in the squad. Gaärsen won League 1 with Cherry Trees in 2003 and 2004 despite playing irregularly, and also scored one of the goals in the team's victorious 2005 King's Cup final appearance.
Ahead of the 2006 season, Gaärsen and Zyx Lydveldtsen swapped shirt numbers, signifying Gaärsen's promotion to a regular starting place with his new number 10. His breakthrough season saw a strong strike partnership form alongside Tereminus which, despite winning neither league nor cup, the pair continued at international level. Gaärsen's form found him in high demand prior to the 2007 season and a loan-swap deal was agreed between Cherry Trees and Passas' Kingsland Mavericks in the RNSL Division 1, with Phillip Sherman spending the campaign in Craitland. Gaärsen was one of a number of high-profile Mavericks signings at the time, taking the club's number 15 shirt, but struggled to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up as the team won its first title. Gaärsen and Sherman returned to their respective parent clubs at the end of the season.
In his first season back in Craitland, Gaärsen rediscovered his form and ended as the league's top scorer with eleven goals to help Cherry Trees to another title, as well as scoring the winning goal in the King's Cup final that year. The 2009 season, in which the division was expanded by two promoted teams, Gaärsen was once again top scorer, hitting twelve goals, but couldn't bring another trophy to the club as the team also lost the cup final.
Gaärsen and Cherry Trees had somewhat of a poor campaign in 2010, as they finished a then-record-low fourth, with Gaärsen scoring eight times. However, the following year was considerably more successful, as Gaärsen's top-scoring tally of 18 goals helped the team comfortably to a fifth Craitish championship title.
In a 2012 campaign fraught with injury, Gaärsen managed only ten league goals as an uncharacteristically poor Cherry Trees finished bottom of the table. The season's cloud had a silver lining, however, as Gaärsen scored yet more final goals with a brace in a 2–1 win to win the King's Cup. The 2013 season saw Gaärsen score in two more finals, with three goals contributing to wins in both the King's Cup and Cities' Cup, although his 22 league goals weren't enough to overcome rivals Osĵätoņ Aztecs FC, who won the league by a point.
Gaärsen was joined by a new strike partner for 2014, with fellow Crait Lydveldt Jonmikeltsen joining from Róndlinga Diamonds FC. The duo's combined tally contributed to a dominant league performance, as Cherry Trees won by a margin of twelve points; Gaärsen personally hitting 18 goals. The club were unable to add a cup title to their season success, but did become the first Craitish team to win the EMUFA Champions' League. The club's continental success led them to the 2014 FMF Champions' League, reaching the final, in which Gaärsen scored Cherry Trees' opener before losing on penalties.
Gaärsen's goalscoring remained consistent through 2015's campaign, where he scored 14 times, but the club could only finish fourth in League 1 and failed to make any lasting impact in the cup competitions. Cherry Trees improved in 2016, narrowly finishing second in the league by one point, with Gaärsen taking the back seat for goals, scoring eleven in comparison to partner Jonmikeltsen's 16. Gaärsen followed-up with twelve league goals in the 2017 season, with new signing Marko Zajc adding to Cherry Trees' offensive options, as the club stormed to a seventh title.
Taking-on a reduced role in the 2018 season, with Sfeir Kheldumeh being played alongside Jonmikeltsen regularly, Gaärsen failed to hit double figures in league goals for the first time since 2010, with his tally of nine contributing to a second-placed finish behind Sverige Tiem FC. After missing-out on any domestic trophies, with two poor cup showings, Gaärsen and Cherry Trees did however save face by winning a first WMFA Champions' League. Gaärsen scored in the final to kick-start an impressive comeback from 3–0 down to take the match to penalties, where the club became the first to win Champions' League titles in two separate confederations.
In what would ultimately become his final professional season, Gaärsen was a bit-part player for Cherry Trees in 2019, as record signing Joe Foxon established a clinical partnership with Jonmikeltsen. Gaärsen's seven league goals came as the club could only manage to place second, but he gained two winner's medals thanks to the club's first ever FMF Champions' League title and sixth cup victory, where Gaärsen scored the match's fourth goal in his last outing for the team. After 17 seasons and at the age of 34, Gaärsen announced his retirement at the culmination of the campaign and ended his career as one of Micras' most decorated players.
Gaärsen's international career with Craitland began in 2006, following the creation of the FMF and the organisation of the inaugural edition of the FMF World Cup, in which Craitland was entered. Gaärsen started Craitland's first ever match; a 2–1 victory over New-Empire in the tournament's group stage, but was injured after half an hour and replaced by Cherry Trees FC teammate Alexis Tereminus, who scored the team's second later in the match. The injury Gaärsen sustained kept him out of the team's remaining two group fixtures, but the forward returned to the side for their quarter-final match-up against Nova England, scoring his penalty in the shoot-out which Craitland lost after a 0–0 draw.
The following year saw Gaärsen and Tereminus able to enact their strike partnership on an international level, as Craitland eased their way through their qualifying group for the 2007 FMF World Cup. In the tournament itself, Gaärsen hit impressive form as he scored six goals as Craitland won their first trophy. In the group, Gaärsen scored once against Taesong in a 3–2 loss and also hit both goals against Jamzinia in a 2–0 win. Gaärsen then added a goal in each knock-out round, scoring in 3–2 and 2–0 ins over Alexandria in the quarter-finals and Passas in the semi-finals, respectively, before scoring the sole goal in the final against co-hosts Tokidoki to ensure victory. Later in the year, Gaärsen was included in Craitland's squad for the first EMU Championships, and he was the highest-scoring player in the tournament's knock-out rounds thanks to a brace in the quarter-final defeat of New South Vietnam and another in the semi-final against Riponia, which the team lost on penalties despite Gaärsen again scoring his kick.
Craitland qualified automatically as holders for the 2008 FMF World Cup, and Gaärsen was teamed-up with Hänävissen-ó-Cräiteland FC's Hanast Pellegrino to lead the Craits' line. Gaärsen and Hanast's partnership was prolific in the tournament, with their combined 14 goals helping the team to a second consecutive title. Gaärsen's personal tally was eight goals, having found the net in every one of the team's matches as Craitland dominated. Gaärsen opened the scoring in all of Craitland's matches, bar the semi-final, too, and sealed braces against Hurmu and Bobalania, with individual strikes against the United Empire, Shireroth, Hamland and, in the final, Passas. Gaärsen's overall performance earned him the tournament's Best Player award to add to the team's title.
Gaärsen continued his good international form into 2009, but was unable to help Craitland to another tournament victory that year. After being joined up front primarily by Tommy Hjansen of the Osĵätoņ Aztecs FC, Gaärsen scored twice in EMU 2009, both against Passas, as they lost the final in extra time before adding four goals in that year's World Cup. Two goals in a 4–4 draw with Beaugium and another in a win over Monovia propelled the team through the group, while another successful shoot-out strike put the team on their way against Bobalania in the quarter-finals. After losing the semi-final to Alexandria, Gaärsen scored the second of five in a 5–2 over Beaugium to give the team third place.
Gaärsen and Hanast's partnership was resurrected again in 2010, and the superior goal difference they created was enough to see the team top their qualifying group ahead of Bobalania to advance to the finals. Gaärsen had less impact on the score sheets during the tournament, as Hanast ended with six compared to Gaärsen's two—scored in wins over Natopia in the group and Toketi in the semi-finals—but the team nevertheless sealed a third World Cup in four years with a narrow final win over hosts Hamland.
Gaärsen was somewhat of a surprise omission to Craitland's squad for EMU 2011, which Craitland hosted and subsequently won, alongside other players who were purposely rested by the team's managers with the World Cup later in the summer in mind. In the World Cup, Gaärsen returned to more abundant form, and finished as joint-top scorer with Passasian domestic teammate Łukasz Dąbrowski with six goals apiece. Gaärsen's strikes were primarily concentrated to the earlier stages of the tournament, with a brace against Nova England in a 3–2 win and a first finals hat-trick in a 6–1 victory over Antica in the group being added to with another in the quarter-finals against Alexandria; a match won on penalties, in which Gaärsen scored his kick for the fourth time. Although Gaärsen failed to score in the final two matches, Craitland won a record fourth World Cup by beating hosts Shireroth 1–0 in the final.
The following year was a contrast of tournaments for Gaärsen. After a poor domestic season, the striker went through a purple patch during EMU 2012, where he scored a goal in each of the team's four matches as they finished in third place to take another shared top scorer award. However, the 2012 FMF World Cup saw Gaärsen fail to score for the first tournament since 2006 as a struggling Craitland, who qualified as holders, were knock-out in the quarter-finals by Alexandria.
Despite a relatively fruitful qualifying campaign in 2013, Gaärsen and Craitland suffered embarrassment in the EMU Championships as two draws meant they were eliminated from the group stage of a tournament for the first time. Gaärsen scored the side's second of a 2–2 with Nova English Korea in the final game, but couldn't help the team from crashing-out. Craitland improved for the World Cup later that year, as did Gaärsen, who added four goals to his tally as the team finished in fourth place. Gaärsen scored one in a 4–0 group win over Nova England and also scored both in a 2–1 defeat of Novatainia. His other came in the third-place play-off loss to Alexandria, but two unsuccessful penalty shoot-out attempts in the quarter- and semi-finals were an uncharacteristic burden.
The qualifying campaign for 2014 was an easy, unbeaten one for Craitland, as Gaärsen added more goals, but the team's appearance in EMU 2014 was a second successive group-stage knock-out in which Gaärsen was unable to find the back of the net against Passas and Interland. Gaärsen's strike partnership with Tim Isrdlvarien came to realisation in that year's World Cup, however, with an unbeaten stretch to make the semi-finals being aided by three Gaärsen goals and two from Isrdlvarien. While losing the semi-final narrowly to rivals Hamland, Gaärsen opened the scoring to a 3–1 win over Senya to take third place.
The tenth edition of the World Cup was chosen to be hosted in Craitland, giving the team automatic qualification. Prior to the tournament, following the retirement of Paulio Demhivo, Gaärsen was made captain of the Craitish side. In his new role, the forward scored the Craits' opening four goals in the tournament; twice in a loss to Tellia, the only goal in a 1–0 over Birgeshir and the opening strike in a 3–0 defeat of Valencia. After adding a fifth in four games by doubling the lead over Gotzborg in a 2–0 win, Gaärsen was unable to add any more after another 1–0 loss to eventual champions Hamland, but finished joint-second in the scoring charts.
Having switched FMF confederations from the EMUFA to WMFA in 2015, Gaärsen captained Craitland in their first Benacia Cup appearance after a successful qualifiers. Gaärsen scored a hat-trick in the opening 6–2 win over Nordzibola as the team advanced, but even scoring his penalty in the shoot-out wasn't enough to stop hosts and eventual winners Elwynn beating the team in the semi-finals. Gaärsen did, however, score the third in a 3–0 win over Karalakh to take third place, and end joint-top scorer with four to his name.
Gaärsen was Craitland's captain when the team competed in its first ever friendly tournament in early 2017; the Treesian Memorial Cup. Gaärsen struck twice in a 6–3 victory over Arboria, alongside Will Zóma in a seemingly new partnership, to help the Craits on their way to a first title since 2011. The striker scored three goals in qualifying as Craitland managed to reach their eleventh World Cup finals, and captained the side in the tournament, where he played in four matches—being on the bench against New Vaduz in the group—and hit six goals but couldn't stop the team losing in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Tellia.
Having lost his regular starting place during the 2018 Benacia Cup qualification rounds, Gaärsen was included in the squad for the finals, where he made three appearances; two from the bench. His only start in the tournament came in the final, where he helped the side to a 2–1 victory over hosts Shireroth in extra time to secure his first ever confederational title, having missed-out on a place at EMU 2011. The Benacia Cup final would turn-out to be Gaärsen's final cap for Craitland—with other, in-form strikers being used for the 2019 qualifiers despite him remaining eligible to play—before his retirement from the sport in the summer of 2019. Gaärsen's career came to a close with record international tallies of 172 caps and 106 goals to his name.
- FMF World Cup (4): 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
- Benacia Cup (1): 2018
- MicrOlympics Gold (1): 2008
- Treesian Memorial Cup (1): 2017
- CrFA League 1 (6): 2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017
- King's Cup (6): 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2019
- Cities' Cup (1): 2013
- FMF Champions' League (1): 2018
- EMUFA Champions' League (1): 2013–14
- WMFA Champions' League (1): 2017–18
- RNSL Division 1 (1): 2007
- FMF World Cup Best Player (1): 2008
- FMF World Cup Top Scorer (2): 2011 (shared), 2014 (shared)
- EMU Championships Top Scorer (2): 2007, 2012 (shared)
- Benacia Cup Top Scorer (1): 2016 (shared)
- CrFA Player of the Year (2): 2008, 2011
- CrFA Young Player of the Year (1): 2006
- CrFA League 1 Top Scorer (3): 2008, 2009, 2011
Gaärsen came-out as homosexual in January 2013, and is the most high-profile Micrasian footballer to be openly gay so far. He is also the only known homosexual captain of any FMF-affiliated national team in the organisation's history. Gaärsen's decision to publicise his sexuality came from a meeting with fellow Craitish striker and close friend Paul Óma-ó-Täó, during the earlier stages of his stomach cancer's progression, with Óma-ó-Täó's condition acting as somewhat of a frame of reference for perspective of the two matters.
In addition to being recognised as one of Micras' most talented footballers, Gaärsen is also renowned for his friendly persona, and willingness to help other players and spend time with fans outside of professional scenarios. He is a frequent user of the social network Whispr.
Gaärsen's status as a cultural icon was epitomised by his choosing as an influential figure after which an asteroid has been officially named, by the New Zimian Space Exploration and Settlement Agency, upon his retirement in 2019.