Thursday, November 27, 2014

Big Changes!

I think I’m well overdue for an update on here! It’s hard to believe it’s been over 9 months since I last wrote on here. Saying things have changed a lot since my last blog post would be an understatement.
First of all I have a huge personal announcement! My life completely changed this past spring, as I proposed to my incredible girlfriend Laura on May 30th. So I’m very proud to say we are now engaged and will be getting married this upcoming summer! It was the best day of my life without a doubt. I have never been happier and am so fortunate to have such an amazing, supportive partner to share my life with.

And now from where I left off from in my last blog post… I did have some great experiences training in Germany and Austria. Another highlight was definitely seeing Bayern Munich play live. However I decided to head home and pursue opportunities closer to home. I signed with USL PDL club Washington Crossfire, based near Seattle. This meant over two hour commutes each way, from across the border in Canada to get to training multiple times a week. This quite often meant leaving for training around 4 PM and arriving home past Midnight that same night. I also managed to hold a coaching job in BC at the same time and had to find a way to balance the two different opportunities. It was challenging to say the least. However it was good to get some games in.

Following the season, Laura and I headed back to Europe for a three-week trip around Scandinavia. It was nothing short of spectacular. We flew out of Vancouver in early August on IcelandAir (my airline of choice). I usually try to fly IcelandAir for multiple reasons and have had many layovers in Reykjavik. However for the first time we arranged a stopover there, so we could have a chance to check out outside of the airport. We absolutely loved our two days in Reykjavik. It is a very special place! Some highlights included visiting the world famous Blue Lagoon (geothermal hot springs) and walking around the city centre. I would love to have the chance to explore outside of the city one day. Hopefully next time ;)

We then headed back to my old stomping grounds in Oslo. I love Oslo. It has always been a special place to me, ever since my first visit there as a five-year-old. It had been exactly two years since I was last living/playing there. It was a pretty crazy feeling to come back with my fiancé. Things in my life now are so different to when I was living there. It was amazing showing Laura around the city, discovering new places and showing her around my old favorite spots. I returned to one of my old club’s Kjelsås to do some training while in Oslo. It was nice to see some of the guys and they were definitely surprised to see me again! 

After a few days in Oslo, it was time to head to Stockholm for our first visit there. We hopped on the train (for an incredibly cheap price) and made our way to Sweden. Sotckholm was very different to Oslo. We loved exploring Gamla Stan (old town) and biking around the waterfront near the city centre. 

 From Stockholm we headed back to Norway (via two trains) and arrived in Trondheim (further North) to stay with my family on their farm there. It was great to see my relatives there. Without them, I never would have ended up living or playing in Norway. I’m going way back in time here, but the background story is, in 2010 I first came to Norway to play after looking for a change from playing in the UK. I got in touch with my relatives at the end of my English season to see if I could come stay with them while trying out for some clubs for a few weeks. They helped me to call multiple clubs and set up trials before I signed with FK Bodø/Glimt in Northern Norway. It was so good to see them again, I feel like I’m staying at my home away from home when I’m with them. I’m very thankful for all they have done for me in my life. I had another training stint set up with local club Stjørdals/Blink while staying there. After a few days staying with them, we then headed North to Bodø.

It was time to jump on another long train ride and head North of the Arctic Circle. Looking back on it now I have to admit I was a very brave 19-year-old when I did this the first time. I remember my relative Håkon, calling Bodø/Glimt’s coach to see if I could come for a trial. We were sitting in the living room and he was speaking Norwegian to him of course. I had no idea what he was saying and when he got off the phone I was surprised that the coach invited me to come up for a trial. That night I booked a flight for the next day and I headed off to some town in Northern Norway, that I had never heard of and knew nobody in. I couldn’t be happier that I got on that flight. In all my years playing, that year has been my favorite. It was an honor to play for a huge club like Bodø/Glimt and I made some lifelong friends there. It feels special everytime I go back and I was thrilled to get to show Laura around there. It was great to see some of my old teammates there and I also had a chance to go and train with Bodø/Glimt for two days while I was there. Stepping out on the stadium field again was a very cool feeling. 

Finally we headed back to Oslo for a final couple of days before heading back home to Vancouver. Overall it was an incredible trip and we can’t wait to head back. I’m excited to continue following my dreams playing the game I love and even more excited that I now have someone special to share those dreams with. I’m not going to say much now, but I will be pursuing more playing opportunities in 2015. For now, it’s all about preparation as I train daily to get myself ready for what’s to come. I’m thankful for all the last 9 months have brought in my life and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. Between a wedding, future travels and playing opportunities, it is bound to be the most exciting year of my life. 

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