BRENT LATHAM - Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Stabaek midfielder and soon to be US U-20 World Cup team member Mikkel Diskerud is thrilled with his inclusion in Thomas Rongen's final roster, after having been on the outside looking in as recently as this spring.
"Of course, I am thrilled," the Norwegian-American told YA after his selection to the team Friday. "I got a personal call from Mr. Rongen."
The Arizona native has been heavily involved with his club team this season, and has been able to get away to play only one game with the U-20s, scoring the loan goal in a 1-0 friendly win over Egypt's U-20s in June. Nevertheless, Diskerud's club performance convinced Rongen that he didn't want to be without the Scandanavian's services later this month in Suez, where the US plays its match games.
Diskerud said he likes the team's chances, despite the paucity of big name players that has dotted the American U-20 rosters in the past.
"I understand there is no reason to relax, as most comments about the roster is that it is much weaker than the one in the last U-20 Word Cup, and with less talent than what will come from the present U-17," Diskerud said, displaying a finely tuned understanding of American soccer culture.
"Well, even though the work is cut out for us, I think I have seen enough of this squad to believe that comments like that will just ignite us, at least when it comes to effort and achievements," he asserted. "My objective now is to stay fit and escape injuries."
The man who is likely to spearhead the American midfield in Egypt will bring experiences from the highest levels of European soccer, Stabaek having just completed an ultimately unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the Champions League, in which they fell at the last hurdle to the group stage to perennial Spanish power Valencia.
"Mestalla was quite something," Diskerud said of his 90-minute performance in one of the temples of Spanish football. "I'd like to go back there, and next time for a win. I had one finish from the 16 meter line that would have made it to the net if it wasn't for the shoulder of a defender that came rushing home."
If Diskerud can impress on the world stage in Egypt, he may get more such opportunities sooner than anyone could have expected.