Friday, January 21, 2011

Former NAU Soccer Star Andreassen Playing Professionally in Norway

OSLO, Norway – Former NAU women's soccer player and the current women's soccer CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American of Year Kristi Andreassen just completed her first week in Oslo, Norway playing with professional women's soccer club Røa. Andreassen, who's family hails from Norway, will be sending updates stateside each week as she experiences the culture of her native land. Here is her first entry:

Picture: Kristi's first indoor practice with Røa in Oslo and the Røa football club logo.

Week 1 (January 13- 20)
After a 10-hour flight to London, a 2-hour layover at the Heathrow-London airport, and a 3-hour flight to Oslo, my dad and I finally made it! We were greeted with big smiles by my uncle. This is the start of a new and exciting experience! As usual, I was starving, but luckily there were Norwegian waffles waiting on the table for me to eat (my favorite!). My dad, uncle, my uncle's wife Hanne and I enjoyed the waffles and good conversation, and then, soon after, we all went to bed. The rest of my first week was super busy! There were many things that needed to be taken care of before my dad left including setting up a bank account, cell phone account, student ID, and public transportation card. We were also busy with soccer- one of my main reasons for moving to Norway.

I was super nervous for the first practice with the Røa football club, a professional women's team which just won the top series championship. It was very interesting. Soccer training here is very similar to soccer training at NAU. Soccer is a universal language! We used a lot of the same drills, but the main difference was speed. The girls on Røa are so skilled and pass the ball around very fast. I felt like I was chasing the whole time and tired pretty quickly. All of their passes are mostly played in one touch and two touches; rarely did anyone hold on to the ball for more than two touches. The passing patterns are more complicated than I have ever done and make you think while moving and playing the ball quickly. One of the hardest things at practice is the language barrier. Most Norwegians speak English but are too shy to use it, so everything at practice was in Norwegian. Luckily, a couple of the girls were kind enough to translate for me!

As the week went on, I improved and started to feel more comfortable with the team and coaches. I experienced playing outside during the cold and dark Norwegian winter and played on ice! Everyone was slipping throughout practice, but it was still very fun. The coach invited me to play for the first match, which was very exciting. I got to watch the team play from the bench and learned how the coach wants us to play. For the second half, I played center midfield with the opposing team because one of their girls got sick and they did not have any substitutes. Even though I did not get to play for my team or in my position, I was very happy to get some playing time and I still got to experience the pace of the game!

I also started school this week at the University of Oslo, where I am taking a course in Norwegian! The class is designed for immigrants who want to learn the language and even though I am not an immigrant (yes, I am a Norwegian citizen), I thought it would probably be a great class for me to take! I am really excited to learn, and hopefully I will be fluent in Norwegian soon. On top of soccer and school, I am looking forward to trying new things, especially new foods. One thing that I have tried is sushi. Yes, I have had sushi back home, but sushi there does not compare to sushi here! Sooooo good!!! I always hated shrimp, but not anymore. The shrimp here is different than back home and definitely better!

I have already experienced so much, and I am looking forward to experiencing more! A new blog will be posted about every week!

Bye for now!