Marie Knutsen is living it up in New York but has not ruled out the chance of a return to top football.
Marie Knutsen represented Norway at the European Cup in 2005, the World Cup in 2007 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. A year ago it became clear that she would take a break from sport to have her baby and to move to New York with husband Patrick Johansen, working in Nordea Markets in the big city, who used to play for Byåsen in division-2.
After a year we were a bit short of news about how things were going for them, and wanted to find out more about what it's like to be a Trønder in New York. "I have had a great time. Little Jasper has come into the world, and our little family is enjoying life here", said the 28-year-old to Avisenes Nyhetsbyrå (ANB).
"New York is a fantasic place, and the best thing about being here is to feel the atmosphere and energy in the town. People are incredibly sociable and friendly. No-one is better at small-talk than New Yorkers", she said with a smile.
She and Jasper enjoy park life every day and visit cafes. They often visit the Norwegian Sailors' church and Marie does a little training. "As the mother of a small child I am very glad of Central Park. It's free of traffic and noise, and is pleasant all the year round", said Knutsen.
"Do you get any time for training with all that?" - "We try to keep ourselves in form even though we don't get as much time for it as before. But we have a training centre we can use, and are the proud owners of a running machine, which we felt was a good investment. I can jog in the park while Jasper sits in the pram watching the birds fly past", she said.
The former champion with Røa is not planning a future in top football but has found a local team. "After Christmas I found a team called Rovers. They say they are at level-3 here but I don't know. The trainer says it's the highest amateur level. Anyway they are a great crew of girls who meet for matches every Sunday and train once a week", she said.
The transition was not easy. "They are a team who like to play extreme possession-football, and like attacking runs and duelling. I found that out after 20 minutes of the first session. I ran round a lot without getting a touch of the ball", she smiled. "But I am gradually discovering the role of a midfielder in the team. It's fun anyway. We won the semifinal in the Cup so we are going to the Final", said Knutsen.
The Rovers are unaware of the true identity of their new foreign recruit. "Do the girls know they have a Norwegian international in the team who has played at the World Cup and the Olympics?" - "Hehe, no. I don't think they know I played for Norway", said Marie with her quizzical smile.
"How about Røa and Norway. Is that possible once again?" - "I know I am missing football, and I definitely miss playing at Røa. Even though they lost some top players a while back they are now better than ever. I think it says a lot about the team culture and the fantastic trainer they have", said Knutsen. "If I were to play again in Norway it would only be for Røa. When we go home I phone Geir [Nordby] to see about the chance of training with Røa".
"Have you followed the Toppserien?" - "Yes, well I follow Røa anyway, and I am very proud about how the team and the girls are performing".
"Do you know how long you will be in the USA?" - "No, not really. It will be another year at the least".
"Before we finish, Marie, there's a championship coming up - the World Cup in Germany. What do you think of Norway's chances?" - "I'm looking forward to it very much. They are going for a medal, but there is also a lot of excitement in qualifying for the Olympics. There are not many places to compete for, but I hope they will manage it. It's a slightly young and inexperienced team, with a lot of the central players missing, so we need others to take responsibility". She is thinking of Solveig Gulbrandsen, waiting for her baby, Melissa Wiik who is injured, and Lise Klaveness and Lene Storløkken, who are working against the clock to get fit.
"But Norway has never had so many exciting and good attacking players as today. I have a lot of belief that Elise Thorsnes will have a good World Cup, and with individual players coming to their top form I believe Norway could surprise".
"The national team has a good tradition of good performance at championships, and I think this will be no exception", said Knutsen.
Her sister is Guro Knutsen Mienna, who still plays for Røa and is in the Norway squad for the World Cup. But we have to wait and see if the player with 55 international matches and six goals for Norway will be seen again at top level.Terje Alstad, ANB http://www.ba.no/sport/article5624307.ece
And on http://www.nywomensoccer.org/index.php
it says Marie has scored 6 goals for the Rovers.
Marie Knutsen and Lori Chalupny: