Saturday, June 28, 2008

Good Norgen

The U.S. team has arrived in Fredrikstad, Norway and this is surely beautiful country. The team touched down around 2 p.m. Oslo time and bussed 90 minutes south. Rolling fields, endless trees, quaint houses and some classic architecture mixed with modern touches characterize this part of southeast Norway (and heck, almost all of Norway that we've seen). There are only 5 million people in Norway and 75,000 in Fredrikstad. 75,000? Four times that many pass by the USA's training base at The Home Depot Center every day on the 405 Freeway! It will be a very nice place to spend five days before the team heads to Sweden. Fredrikstad Stadium, which will host the USA-Norway match on July 2, is just walking distance from the hotel, which overlooks a canal off the Glomma River. We are told the Glomma river is one of the longest in Norway and you just can't say Glomma enough times. The U.S. team will take a stroll to a Norwegian men's premier league on Monday night featuring the local side vs. Valerenga of Oslo, but they'll bus it to their own match. (Although the site of 22 U.S. players walking through the streets of Fredrikstad as if they were moving from Field 1 to Field 12 at a youth tournament would be a site to see). The U.S. team is minus one of its 22 player roster as defender Ali Krieger had domestic flight issues and couldn't make the Newark to Oslo flight. Poor Ali spends almost a year playing in Germany, then comes home for a week, and then misses her flight back to Europe! The flight to Oslo was delayed almost two hours as well, but the Americans finally boarded and most players got some airplane sleep (read: not the deep kind). The players are now just trying to stay awake for a bit so they can adjust as soon as possible. America to Asia to America to Europe in less than a month ain't easy. The fact that the sun sets at around 10:30 p.m. and rises at 4:30 a.m., giving about 18 hours of daylight here, does not make it easy to nod off. Pull those curtains closed tightly.

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