Solveig Gulbrandsen's career reached its end on Saturday. She kept up the typically brilliant quality of her play right to the finish. Her club Stabæk took the Toppserien league title and she was one of the best players on the pitch, assisting two of the best goals of the season in the 3-0 win.
For Norway she has played 154 matches and scored 47 goals. Gulbrandsen has been one of the stars of Norwegian football for many years. "It will be good to have free weekends. It's exhausting to be away from the family so much", she told NRK.
She debuted on the national team as far back as 1998. Since then she has become an Olympic champion (Sydney 2000) and played in both the World Cup in 2007 and the 2008 Olympics. In the European Cup semifinal in 2005 she was the best player, scored two goals and assisted the third, something she describes as a high point in her career. "The whole tournament was a great experience. Our expectations were not high, but it was a success. Norway lost to Germany in the Final in Blackburn", she said.
Gulbrandsen has contributed on and off the pitch. She has been technically good, a strong runner and a very good attacking midfielder, according to NRK's expert Karl-Petter Løken. She finished her international career on September 15 in the vital playoff against Ukraine for a place in next year's World Cup, assisting the first goal and scoring the second with an elegant lob, four minutes from full time.
Gulbrandsen is 29, and as well as her long international career she has been important in Norwegian club football. She was a League Champion with Kolbotn and Stabæk and won the Cup with Kolbotn in 2007. This year she also became a champion with FC Gold Pride in California, realising her ambition of being a professional footballer in the USA.
She has a wish to try her skills as a trainer in the future, and could one day be a trainer in the Toppserien. She has decided views on football and is excited about the future. "We have good players in Norway, but there is some variation", she told NRK.
On Saturday the Toppserien season comes to an end. It is highly unlikely that she will travel with Stabæk to their away match on the south coast against Amazon Grimstad as she has been suffering from sickness and injuries recently.
Thanks Solveig for a fantastic career! Olav Traaen http://www.nrksport.no/fotball/toppserien/1.7370101