MEGHAN BRENNAN - Friday, May 28, 2010
Seventeen year-old Norwegian-American Sebastian Troupe received a call up from the US U-20 National team that could not have come at a worse time, as obligations with his club team forced him to turn down the opportunity.
Coach Thomas Rongen wanted Troupe of 2. Division Baerum SK to join the U-20 squad for the Cor Groenewegen Tournament in Holland which began May 22nd. Initially Troupe responded to the request like any teenager in his position would, with enthusiasm.
"I was very happy and proud!" he exclaimed to YA. "To be called up to the USA U-20 [team] is a big achievement and a big honor."
Unfortunately for Troupe the tournament fell during the same week as important league and Norwegian Cup matches for Bærum, whom play in the third tier of Norwegian professional soccer.
"The matches against Asker and Notodden are two very big matches," explained Troupe. "We are also playing Stabæk in the second round of the Norwegian cup, those three games could shape the rest of the season."
Due to the scheduling conflict, Bærum head coach Morten Tandberg would not release Troupe for the Holland tournament. Although rightfully disappointed, Troupe handled the situation with poise.
"Of course it's a big disappointment not to play in the tournament with Coach Rongen, but I have to respect my coach's [Tandberg] decision and my contract with Bærum," he added. "I am positive that every thing will turn out fine for everyone in the end."
In the end, Rongen and the U-20 team finished the Cor Groenewegen in eighth place with a tournament record of 2-2-2. Troupe and Bærum won only one of their three matches, a 2-0 league victory over Notodden FK.
Although the Holland tournament has come to a close, the possibility of Troupe joining the U-20 team in the future has not been ruled out. Rongen reportedly expressed interest in bringing Troupe aboard at a later date.
"He [Rongen] did not say any specific date, but said he would consider me in some of the upcoming [tournaments]", affirmed Troupe.
The U-20s will play in the Milk Cup, July 26th in Northern Ireland, which may provide Troupe an opportunity to show Rongen where he fits on the team.
The starting defender turned striker, as of late, thinks his time playing with physically strong Norwegian professionals will be an advantage come call-up time, although he respects the US speed.
"Since I play for a senior team, I could have an advantage from playing with bigger, older and stronger [players], if the other US players there are the same age," said Troupe. "But I think the U-20 squad possesses a lot of pace, strength and a good understanding of the game, I especially think some of the players are much faster than players in Norway."
Between now and July 26th, if Troupe gets the call for the Milk Cup, he and Bærum will continue their league quest to hang with the 2. Division powerhouses at the top.
"Promotion is not our main goal," concluded Troupe. "We want to be in the top with Asker, Notodden and Manglerud Star. Since we are a young squad, we have a three year period and [by then] we might be ready to take that final step into the [1. Division]."