MEGHAN BRENNAN - Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Norwegian-American and Stabæk starting midfielder, Mikkel Diskerud talks about the squad's short comings this season, the addition of Erik Benjaminsen and his goal to make the 2012 Olympic team.
The 2008 Eliteserien champions who finished third in 2009, currently sit at 11th with only seven games remaining. A season plagued by injuries has resulted in little to no consistency in the starting lineup, which Diskerud sees as Stabæk's reoccurring obstacle this year.
"Our main problem has been numerous injuries in the back. I can count on one hand how many times we played with the same four defenders in the line-up. Game results have been weaker than expected, however, I think we have played quite better at times than what the scoreboard shows," he told YA.
In addition to battling injury, the talented squad–five of Stabæk's players were called up to their respective national teams for the European Cup Qualifying games last week–was forced to deal with the drama surrounding head coach Jan Jonsson's move to Eliteserien rival Rosenborg, next year.
"Rosenborg snatched our famed coach and we won´t have our new one in place until December. The whole thing created a big fuss in the club, and the press and the fans points to this as the main explanation [for Stabæk's lackluster performace this year.] But I think we, the players, have to carry most of the blame ourselves," explained Diskerud.
Despite the team struggles this season the midfielder has thrived, starting every match Diskerud boats four goals and five assists. He has played at almost every position on the field, with the exception of center back and goalkeeper.
"Coach [Jonsson] has a tendency to move me down as a left-back in the middle of decisive games when he is low on substitution alternatives. I prefer central-mid, defensive or offensive. Reason being, I have played a lot of basketball and I have the skills and mind set of a point-guard. That´s why," he stated.
After two seasons as Stabæk's lone US representative, Diskerud finally has a compatriot with whom to talk basketball. Eighteen year-old, Norwegian-American Erik Benjaminsen–who at 14, became Stabæk's youngest member of the U-19 squad–signed with the senior team on August 20th.
"I am thrilled about Erik! And I am so happy that [there] are quite a few Americans that have a chance to compete and factor in [the] Eliteserien," exclaimed Diskerud. "Erik is a very good friend. He would maybe be an even better friend if he didn´t play soccer at all, or at least stopped competing for my favorite positions on the team," he said with a smile.
While the competition between the two Norwegian-American's is friendly, the battle for a spot on the US 2012 Olympic squad will be much more fierce, especially without a current head coach in place.
"Do we need a coach???" joked Diskerud, "As long as someone in US Soccer picks me and preferably finds ten guys that are better than me, I think fans should prepare to see yanks in London 2012," he concluded.