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Norwegian football focus: Vestbyen FC

Vestbyen is one of many local clubs in Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city.

The first club everybody thinks of when it comes to this city is Rosenborg, the nine time Champions League participants.

They are an impressive side, and it seems the will to succeed is spreading.

History

Established in 1924, Vestbyen IL has teams for both girls and boys, from seniors down to six year olds. They are a local club giving everybody a fair chance to play the game they love.

It’s not just about football at Vestbyen. Established in 1921 under the name Ørnulf, political differences led to the break up of the team only a few years later, but Vesbyen was then formed in 1924.

After World War II several clubs decided to pull their resources together. In 1959 Trondheim constructed a large swimming arena, and the sport became a major part of the Vestbyen, along with skiing.

Fact File: Vestbyen U16’s

Vestbyen have 19 players in their squad, made up of players born in 1996 and 1997 who train for four days a week.

There are 14 teams in Vestbyen’s league, which starts in April and ends in October. Qualifying games for cup competitions start in February.

The team is self-financed and the budget is around £30,000 pounds a year. In all parts of the organisation the finances are healthy, and the club has a steady flow of new recruits.

Rosenborg have been looking at several of their players, and Vestbyen’s young goalkeeper has even been training with them.

The coaching team

Coaches Tarjei Smågesjø, Torkil Pedersen and Geir Nysethold are in charge of the team, and the trio are doing a fantastic job.

As a player, Smågesjø featured in 380 matches for Vestbyen, but as a coach he has previously worked with Ranheim and Kolstad of the men’s second division.

He has also been a manager in the past, leading Kattem in the women’s Premiership as well as the women’s national teams at U17 and U19 level.

Torkil Pedersen was a regular goals scorer for Vestbyen in his playing days, and his son Martin is following in his footsteps as a part of the youth team.

Matchday: Vestbyen Under 16’s v Hødd Under 16’s – May 1, 2012

I decided to go and see one of their games and have a talk with coaches and a few players.

The match I chose to see was a cup game for the under 16’s boys’ squad against Hødd, a club from further south of Trondheim along the coast.

Both clubs have good youth teams, so it promised to be an interesting game. You never know, maybe some of the players on show from the game will be at major clubs in the future.

I had my cup of coffee and my camera was fully charged, all that was left was for the referee to blow his whistle.

Before the game my expectations were at a normal level. It predicted an average game with average players. I was wrong on both counts!

The players worked very hard and it was a tightly contested and exciting match that included a penalty and a shot from 30 meters. Both goals contributed to a 3-3 score line until there was just one minute left to go.

With seconds left, Vestbyen managed to score the winning goal, final score 4 – 3. What a game!

Norwegian football: Past and present

Norwegian football, to outsiders looking in, has been about the national side and its long ball game.

A direct style has always been the national side’s way of playing football, and really, very little has changed. Domestically however, things are very different.

Youth football is also different. There is an emphasis on passing, good formations and a combination of attack minded players and coaches. This all makes it fun to watch.

Whilst I admit the quality in the Premiership and is far from the best on show in Europe, the will to try is definitely there.

Rosenborg always played lovely attacking football when Nils Arne Eggen was in charge, but this changed after around 2000, with the defensive part of the game becoming more and more organised, meaning it was more difficult to be an attacking team.

Norwegian football: The future?

The youngsters I saw don’t appear to have read the memo however. They attacked in every way possible and it was great fun, both for the players and the spectators.

There were wingbacks running up and down the field to attack and defend, there were attempted passes only Messi could have managed.

There were also shots from all angles, plus a few attempts with through balls that proved the players had a great eye for the game.

Vestbyen’s future

I advise everybody to go see younger players play. They aren’t your average overpaid stars that occasionally don’t bother - these kids want to play the right way, and they certainly did when I was there.

At full time the players were very tired, but both teams had enjoyed the game and one youngster said “If we attack this much, and run this much, in every game...I’ll be dead in August!”.

Last year, Vestbyen visited the mighty Barcelona where they played in a youth tournament. They also took part in the Gothia cup hosted in Sweden.

The team’s next big challenge is on May 19 when they face Aalesund U16 in the fourth round of the cup. They have the opportunity to play on Aalesunds’ Premiership arena, Colorline Stadium, one of the finest stadiums in Norway.

The future for Vestbyen and Norwegian football as a whole, is looking bright.

By Frank Sollie

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