Monday, December 28, 2009
Mikkel Diskerud's eventful 2009 has come to a close yet the midfielder says his goals for 2010 are even higher on both the domestic and international fronts.
The Stabaek man just wrapped up his first full season for the Norwegian Eliteserien club where he helped the team earn another spot in European play for the third season in a row.
The sense of excitement in Diskerud's voice is palpable when he reflects on his first season as a professional soccer player.
"This season, my first season as a pro soccer player, has been amazing," Diskerud recently told YA. "No doubt in my mind, [it is] the coolest job ever! The fans are positive all the time no matter what happens. My teammates are my friends, not my co-workers and rivals, and everybody covers each other's backs."
In addition to helping Stabaek to a third place finish in league play, another highlight for the Arizona native was playing with the suburban Oslo squad in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds. Diskerud and company advanced over Albanian club KF Tirana before falling to FC Copenhagen in the third qualifying round which then sent Stabaek to the Europa League where they lost to Spanish giants Valencia.
Going against the two-time Champions League finalists at their home grounds is a memory that the 19 year old says he will always cherish, despite not obtaining the desired result.
"Playing at the Mestalla, known as one of the stadiums with the best atmospheres and supporters in Europe, was definitely a highlight for me this season. Although, the only thing I did the entire game was chase every single Valencia star hoping that one would have a bad touch… Of course, none of them did," said a chagrined Diskerud.
The experience of facing some of Europe's best was an eye-opening experience for the attacking midfielder who knows that in order to earn more playing time in games both for Stabaek and the United States national team(s), he will have to improve his skills and add to his technical repertoire.
"The upcoming season I am determined to evolve as a creative player and I believe that will result in sufficient playing time," he noted. "I have recently joined track & field sprinters and coaches in order to see how far I can develop technically in that department. It is important to me that US Soccer keeps an eye on what I do over here in Norway."
The Norwegian-American dual citizen had the honor of representing the Red, White & Blue at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt where he factored in two of the US' three matches.
Diskerud's experience with Thomas Rongen's squad already has him thinking about his next ambition which is to represent the US at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
That dream was in jeopardy as recently as several weeks ago as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA deliberated changing the age requirement for Olympic players from Under-23 to Under-21. Fortunately for Diskerud, an agreement was reached btween the IOC and FIFA keeping the age requirements for Olympic Soccer to U-23 players, plus three ‘over-age' players meaning the Grand Canyon State resident's lifelong goal remains a possibility.
"My childhood dream has been to become an Olympian. The dream still lives inside me. But since my chosen sport is soccer, you pretty much get one crack at it due to the age eligibility rules. That has only meant that my specific focus and desire for 2012 in London has grown bigger," he concluded.
After a brief vacation in the US, Diskerud will return to Norway in early 2010 to begin his preparation with Stabaek for the 2010 Eliteserien which will commence on March 2nd when they face Troy Perkins and Valerenga.