Kyle Helton could not be more enthusiastic about the start of the Norwegian 1. Division as the Mjondalen defender looks to make an impact on his new club.
Helton joined the club after undergoing a success trial last month and will be paired with fellow American Rhett Bernstein on the team's back line.
The former Duke University standout is hoping to have a clean bill of health by kickoff on Sunday when Mjondalen open their campaign at Kongsvinger.
"Rhett and I are looking forward to making the most of our opportunity here and using it as an opportunity to be as successful playing this game as possible," Helton recently told YA. "I've been injured for the past couple weeks now and have not had a chance to play any preseason games but I look forward to hitting the ground running in the upcoming days and being ready for the start of the season."
Originally drafted by the New England Revolution in the fourth round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, Helton never saw action in a MLS game with the Revs so he then packed his pags and headed to the Lone Star State where played several matches with the Austin Aztex of the USL in 2009.
The Birmingham, Alabama native then departed Texas following that season and tried his luck overseas in Germany before Bernstein tipped him off about Mjondalen.
"I had been been playing in Germany since [leaving Austin] but both of the clubs, one in the third Bundesliga and one in a lower league, experienced quite a bit of financial turmoil," Helton explained. "I was in the process of leaving my last club in Germany when I spoke with Rhett about Mj°ndalen. He only had good things to say about his experience so we spoke about me making a trip up as well. My trial went extremely well and the rest is more or less history."
Helton and Bernstein will be a critical part of Mjondalen's success this season as the club looks to improve off of last year's 10th place finish.
Mjondalen enter this season with a relatively young squad and will be facing several difficult teams in Honefoss, Kongsvinger and Sandefjord, all clubs recently relegated from the Eliteserien.
Add in a Bodo/Glimt team desperate to return to Norway's top flight since its relegation in 2009 and a road trip up to Alta 300 miles above the Arctic Circle, it is then easy to see the many perils that await Helton and company this season.
Still, the former Blue Devil is upbeat about the team's chances and feels the chemistry that is starting develop between the players and coaching staff can pay dividends come November.
"Everything about our club has been fantastic up to this point," Helton concluded. "The guys on the team are extremely motivated and the coaching staff and management have made our transition as smooth as it can be."
Helton and Mjondalen begin their 2011 1. Division season on Sunday versus Kongsvinger.