MEGHAN BRENNAN - Monday, April 19, 2010
American Colin Burns is facing his newest challenge in Scandinavian soccer, a language barrier, which stands between him and the starting keeper spot at 1. Division club Sarpsborg.
After two seasons with Ljungskile and three years playing in Scandinavia, Burns has battled relegation, controversy surrounding a transfer request and a number of other challenges.
In a new country, on a new team and with a new two year deal, he was signed to be the new number one in net.
But if Burns has learned anything during this process, it is that history repeats itself, and with new opportunities comes a new assailant. This time it is the Norwegian language, which he notes is the reason he did not start in week one against Løv-Ham.
"When we went to preseason in Spain, the coach indicated that he wanted me to be the backup for the first couple games," Burns recently explained to YA. "It has been a difficult transition settling in. They still want me to be the number one goalkeeper, but I have to learn the language better."
A demand to learn Norwegian came after Sarpsborg experienced communication woes in La Manga where the team annually holds preseason camp.
"I usually speak English on the field but now the coaches want me to be 100% Norwegian," Burns explained. "There was confusion in some preseason games with balls over the back and such."
He noted his preseason play hadn't been up to the standard either he or coach Roar Johansen expected and that the language barrier continued to exploit his difficulty transitioning.
"They [Sarpsborg] know I can play better," he noted, "This has to be the toughest team I have had to adjust to. My other clubs [Sweden, Finland, Moldova] had other foreign players so I could hang out with them. But here, everyone is from Norway. I get lost in the locker room conversations and practices because I don't speak Norwegian."
Burns may get lost but he refuses to be forgotten, his positive outlook on the situation is sure to help him meet this challenge head on.
"They [Sarpsborg] brought me here to be the number one and they just want me to take my time, settle in and learn the language," the Delaware native said of his new team. "The club has gone out of their way to help me feel welcome. Members of the team's board have me over for dinner which is great. I can't say enough good things about the club."
Sarpsborg, who currently leads the 1. Division after three weeks of play, looks to continue their two game winning streak when they host Follo on Sunday.