BRIGHT FUTURE AWAITING BENJAMINSEN
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Monday, November 9, 2009
Erik Benjaminsen looks to be following in the foot steps of fellow Norwegian-American Mikkel Diskerud with a rapid rise up the Stabaek soccer chain.

Benjaminsen was born in San Francisco, California and spent the first six years of his life in Fresno, CA until his Norwegian father moved his family back to Norway.

Like many youth in the Scandinavian country, Benjaminsen started playing soccer at a young age and joined Hauger FK as a boy until he says Stabaek reached out to him with an opportunity to join their youth ranks.

"Stabaek contacted me when I was 11 and invited me to a tryout to join their program," Benjaminsen recently recounted to YA. "When I was 14, I made my debut with Stabaek's Under-19 team. Since then, I have been playing mostly with the Under-19 team and have started playing with the club's second team."

The depth of the Stabaek youth program has begun to pay dividends as the club has reached European play for the third year in a row after their third place finish in the 2009 Eliteserien.

It is that kind of environment that makes the Golden State native want to stay with the club and ultimately earn a starting spot on the senior team.

"I really like it here at Stabaek. I'm working towards earning a contract to play with the senior team. I would be open to going to another Eliteserien or 1. Division club on loan but it would also be great to stay here," added Benjaminsen

The similarities between Diskerud and Benjaminsen exist not just at the club level but also on the international level.

As dual citizens, both players have played for Norwegian youth national teams. Benjaminsen recently featured for Norway's U-17 squad at the Nordic Cup, a tournament that is not sanctioned by FIFA nor UEFA meaning the 17 year old would not have to file a one-time national team transfer with FIFA.

Also like Diskerud, Benjaminsen hopes that ultimately his international career will be played in a US national team uniform.

"I am 100% American. I always have been," he emphatically said. "My goal is to make the US national team. It has always been my dream. If I were to get a call [from US Under-20 team coach Thomas Rongen], I would take it in a heartbeat."

Should that story play out, the Bay Area born attacker will have followed a path already taken by Diskerud who played for Rongen in Egypt at the Under-20 FIFA World Cup.

For Benjaminsen, being able to achieve the same success as his close friend Diskerud would further strengthen the existing bond between the two players.

"Mix [Diskerud] is like a brother to me. I look up to him and I was so excited for him that he got to go to Egypt... I just think he should have played more!" concluded Benjaminsen.
Bob Bradley###s Scout
Wednesday November 11, 2009 3:42 pm
It's hard to know how any americans in Europe are playing when we only see them for 1 or 2 games. Truth is they are prospects, like any other kid in america playing soccer. I too get exited when I see american kids europe though, somehow its different. Are thier academies any better than those in the US? Did Norway make it to the U-17 World Cup? I know that argument too..... their competition is better, blah, blah. If Benjaminsen plays 1st team Footy, that's different. I know I will be watching him though.

The Yanks are Coming!
nathan
Tuesday November 10, 2009 5:52 pm
Mikkel Diskerud was a big let down in the WC. Simply not good enough.Lets hope Benjaminsen is better. I dont know what Rongen was thinking bringing Mikkel into the team, but I hope it ends here.The Kid has got no heart in his play and no effort for the team. We need fighters, not primadonnas!

GO US
Mister Fister
Tuesday November 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Can we please end the hyperbolic oh-my-god's that come whenever some soccer-playing kid who's stepped on European soil gets mentioned? Seriously. We Don't Know Squat.
Dave
Tuesday November 10, 2009 8:51 am
But does Rongen have the brains to handle this right? The Subotic affair does not inspire confidence.
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