After starting his career playing for three local clubs, he joined IFK Göteborg in 1917 and won a Swedish Championship with the club the year after. He became the club's first big star. He emigrated to USA in 1922 where he played in for the New York Vikings in the New York State League. In 1924, he signed with Indiana Flooring in the American Soccer League. In 1927, he joined the Vikings on a tour of Scandinavia. When he returned to the United States, he found that his team had been sold to Charles Stoneham and renamed the New York Nationals. In 1930, Stoneham renamed the team the New York Giants. Carlsson left the Giants and the ASL following the 1931 fall season. He returned to Sweden in 1936 where he stayed until he died in 1952.