If Norwegian club Sogndal wants to avoid relegation from the Eliteserien in 2011, it will need a big effort from goalkeeper Joseph Bendik who says he is up for the challenge.
Bendik joined Sogndal last season where he served as the backup goalkeeper most of the season.
The highlight for the former Clemson standout was starting the last four matches of the team's season after they had clinched promotion for winning the 1. Division.
Those four games played a major role in Bendik's ability to land the starting job during this year's preseason.
"For me, things are going really well," Bendik recently told YA. "Last year we traded our first keeper, so I knew there would be a window of opportunity. After playing well in my four starts at the end of last season, I looked to carry that confidence into this year's preseason.
"The new keeper [Kenneth Udjus] and I switched off starting preseason games until about three weeks ago while on our training camp in La Manga, Spain after Kenneth went out with a thigh strain," continued Bendik. "Since then I have started in the last four of our preseason games and have shown myself to be the team's starter for the first game of the season."
With the 2011 campaign already underway, Bendik finds himself in the spotlight at the club as the starting goalkeeper in Sogndal's first Eliteserien season since 2004.
It started on a bit of a low for them this past weekend as they fell to Stromsgodset 2-1 in Drammen.
The Marietta, Georgia native is fully aware that opportunities to be come a stalwart for a top flight team are few and far between and that he will give it everything he's got in order to keep his starting position.
"It's a huge opportunity for me, especially if I play well, it could mean starting for the season," concluded Bendik. "The coaches have been really happy with my progress over the last year and especially in the last month of preseason, so that is a very big positive for me."
Bendik and Sogndal resume Eliteserien action on Sunday April 3rd when they host Odd Grenland.