NEW DIGS SUIT BURNS
After a turbulent final season at Swedish club Ljungskile, goalkeeper Colin Burns is settling in nicely at his new home in Norway with Sarpsborg.
Burns joined the 1. Division club in November of last year after two turmoil-filled seasons at Ljungskile. The netminder's first season with the now-Superettan club ended in relegation from the Allsvenskan. Then last season Burns soon found himself on the outs with club officials after requesting a midseason transfer.
The Newark, Delaware native says that landing at Sarpsborg has been a huge relief both personally and professionally after those trying times in Sweden.
"I'm confident about the season ahead and I'm really enjoying my time here in Sarpsborg," Burns recently told YA. "Personally, it has been a good step up in terms of quality of play and overall professionalism of the coaching staff, management and others around the club."
The southeastern Norwegian club came within inches of earning promotion to the Eliteserien only to lose the return leg of the promotion playoff final to Kongsvinger.
One of the biggest hindrances experienced by the club last season was its propensity to give up goals in key spots, a reason why the former University of Massachusetts standout was on the team's radar as an offseason addition.
Now with the 2010 season less than two months away, Burns feels like he has adapted well to his new teammates and appreciates the effort that everyone has made to help him feel welcome in his new home.
"Preseason is going well," continued Burns. "It's been getting better and better over the last two months. At first it was a bit of a struggle getting adjusted to new surroundings and new players but everyone in the club has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome."
This is also the time of year when many Norwegian clubs are trying to squeeze in as many games as possible prior to the start of the season. Sarpsborg is no different as the club continues to ramp up with games versus teams from different divisions and even different countries.
The 27 year old goalkeeper divulges that he has had the opportunity to face some of his future league competition plus several Eliteserien squads who Sarpsborg just may see during this year's installment of the Norwegian Cup.
"We have already has a number of preseason games playing [1. Division] teams like Follo and Fredrikstad and a Superettan club Orgryte. We have [Eliteserien] clubs Odd Grenland and Valerenga Friday night and Tuesday evening respectively."
Upon the conclusion of Tuesday's match versus Troy Perkins' former club, Sarpsborg will head south to La Manga, Spain for a week long training stint, a ritual for all Eliteserien and 1. Division teams courtesy of the Football Association of Norway.
Once the squad soaks up the sun and fun in La Manga, Burns says he expects to take the starting reins in preparation of the team's opener on April 4th versus Lov-Ham.
"I've played about half the games so far [since] in preseason we are switching [around goalkeepers] every other game till we go to La manga and then I'll take over from there," concluded Burns.