Stabaek midfielder Mikkel Diskerud believes that the 2008 Eliteserien champions are ready to make a run towards the top of the league standings and produce some magic later this year in European play.
Diskerud and Stabaek kicked off their 2010 domestic campaign this past weekend with a hard-earned 2-3 away win at Odd Grenland in a match that pitted last year's third and fourth place finishers in the Eliteserien.
The dual-citizen started and went the distance in the match in what he hopes will be the first step in the long road towards possibly displacing Rosenborg as the top club in Norway.
"There are a few teams, including Stabaek, that could give Rosenborg a fight [this season]," Diskerud recently told YA. "At Stabaek, we have been taught on focusing one game at a time and playing good [soccer] and entertaining the crowd. Only when the season starts coming to an end is when we will look at the table and begin adding up our points."
He is also very succinct when describing both his and the team's goals not only on the domestic front but also in Europe.
"My goals this season are parallel to Stabaek's," Diskerud explained. "We want to make it as far as possible in the Europa League, which we already qualified for. At home, Stabaek wants to secure a top four finish in the league table for the fourth consecutive time. This will earn us another Europa League or Champions League entrance."
"On the personal side I want, of course, to make it to the next upcoming US Under-23 camps. I am going to do my best to earn the US and myself a spot in London in 2012."
Competing at the Summer Olympic Games has been a lifelong quest for the Arizona native, however a lack of contact from the USSF has given Diskerud cause for concern that he might not be considered for the Olympic squad in two years, thus jeopardizing his dream.
When pressed as to whether or not the USSF had at all contacted him recently, the former US Under-20 World Cup participant could only shake his head.
"No, and it scares me a little," he lamented.
Heading into the offseason, one of Diskerud's primary objectives was to work on his speed and quickness. The attacker spent time during the winter months training with track athletes near his suburban Oslo home.
Diskerud feels that over time, the work that he is putting in now to improve his velocity and quickness will pay large dividends as he enters the prime of his soccer career.
"Results don't come overnight," Diskerud said of the speed training. "I am still spending time with the track team BUL in Oslo. They know for sure what they are doing. My genes are such that I probably won't see my peak in speed until I reach 25+, because I am still growing in height.
"I am therefore told that it is important to build some muscle mass while working on elasticity. I have been getting faster the last twelve months, and the track people will hopefully ensure that my progress will be technically optimal and furthermore, without injuries and length rehabs."
The 19 year old is now in his second full season at Stabaek and could very well be joined soon by Erik Benjaminsen, another Norwegian-American who is two years his junior. Benjaminsen is currently with the Stabaek Under-19 team where has excelled prompting speculation that he could be tapped for an appearance in a Norwegian Cup match.
The bond between the two dual citizens is a close one and Diskerud believes that Benjaminsen's time with the Stabaek senior team is close at hand once the club extends him a professional contract.
"Erik is on a roll. He just scored a great goal when the Stabaek U19 and IFK Gothenburg U19 went head to head in a 2-2 draw. IFK showed up with seven Swedish U-NT players. Erik was among the best on the field. I think he will get a few tastes of ‘Senior A soccer' this season in some of the early rounds of [Norwegian Cup] action, and maybe some practice games.
"But Erik is still in school, and in order to register for the [Eliteserien], he needs to be a full-time professional with a full professional contract," he added.
Diskerud and Stabaek look to make it two wins in two games when they return home on Saturday to take on Valerenga.