13 out of Arna-Bjørnar's squad of 17 are playing on different national teams. "We have had plenty of international players before, but I think this is the top", said trainer Morten Kalvenes to bt.no.
The training pitch at the club will be nearly empty as players depart for the A-team as well as the U-23s, the U-19s and the U-17s.
Eli Landsem has selected five AB players to meet Finland, USA and Japan in the period February 26 to March 10. Erika Skarbø, Ingrid Ryland, Maren Mjelde, Madeleine Giske and Cecilie Pedersen (not yet formally an AB player). For them to be at the Algarve Cup means that they are likely selections for the World Cup in the summer. "There is a big difference between playing in the youth teams and playing in the A-team, but we have cracked the code to find the way in to international level", said Kalvenes.
In the under-23s are Caroline Walde, Astrid Grøttå Ree, Tina Algrøy and Hege Hansen. The Under-19s are taking Maren Knudsen and Kristine W. Hegland, while the Under-17s have selected Åsne Takle Eide and Lisa Naalsund (our visitor from Tertnes).
Morten Kalvenes and Arna-Bjørnar have every reason to be proud. "First and foremost it's a signal that the development work in our region is going well. It's a feather in the cap for the Hordaland region", said the trainer. He admits it produces problems on the training pitch back at home. "But we have learned to cope. The plusses outweight the minuses when we have so many international players".
The Bergen club received praise from the chief trainer of the youth teams, Jarl Torske. "Arna-Bjørnar has done well for many years. They have a good training regime", he said.
What about the players who did not get selected? Isabelle Gjerde was a high possibility for the Under-19s but was not picked out this time. Tonje Christiansen was out with a broken leg last year and would have been on a youth team by now if she had been fit. The same goes for Laila Himle, another young player, who suffered an ACL injury.
Last on the list is Veronica Aasgård. The 27-year-old has been a fixture in the AB defence for five seasons, but has never had the international call-up. "I came to the club when I was 22, and had no experience in the national youth teams. Perhaps that made it more difficult to make the step into the A-team, I don't know", said Aasgård.
"What's it like to be left behind?" - "In fact I'm going on holiday next week, to my family at Nordmøre! I'm beginning to get older and am considering retiring. The holiday week is important and now I'm taking a year at a time", she said.
"Are you disappointed you were never an international player?" - "No, not really. I think it's great that we have so many international players. I can console myself with having played alongside them for five years", said Veronica Aasgård.Roar Lyngøy http://fotball.adressa.no/kvinner/article192904.ece
Photo: Madeleine Giske, Ingrid Ryland, Maren Mjelde, Erika Skarbø and Cecilie Pedersen.
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