Alseth FCD

Alseth Makes His Mark in TFC Debut

TORONTO – There was a new face in the Toronto FC lineup last week: Oyvind Alseth.

With the Gold Cup in progress and Steven Beitashour sidelined, the Norwegian started both matches for TFC, against FC Dallas and Orlando City SC.

“[With the injury to Beitashour] I had a feeling that I could be called upon,” said Alseth. “When I heard my name, it felt good to get an opportunity and show what I could do.”

Toronto lost 3-1 in Dallas, but rebounded with an impressive win by the same scoreline in Orlando.

“He did well,” said Greg Vanney of the new addition. “He showed he's capable of playing at this level; he can handle the job.”

“[We've been] trying to find a good moment to give Oyvind an opportunity. We liked him through preseason, thought he was solid; a good soccer player. He's been sharp in training,” noted Vanney. “At some point, we've got to see what these guys are made of.”

His former and current teammate, Alex Bono, said: “He showed his ability to step into the team and hold his own. He kept it simple; it was exactly what we needed.”

Simplicity was the directive from the sidelines, and Alseth was more than happy to heed his coaches' orders.

“The coaching staff did a good job of preparing me,” said Alseth. “Told me to keep it simple, which is the way I like to play. Do my thing, develop my confidence that way.”

Alseth added that his time with TFC II in USL, where he made 13 appearances (totaling 1016 minutes), 'helped a lot' in his transition to MLS. 

“Getting to know the system we want to play, the position,” explained Alseth. “It would have been difficult to go straight to MLS from college”

His coach with II, Jason Bent, was 'impressed' by the extended debut.

“He's that steady-eddy type of player. You need those in the squad,” said Bent. “Beitashour, Justin Morrow, you can count on 7 of out 10 performances every game. Oyvind can develop into that type of player. Credit to him, he's waited for his chance.”

Vanney said the staff had a sense of what Alseth was capable of, but that, “the question became can he do [it] in front of a crowd, when points are on the line. You only know when you put guys out.”

Citing his composure and mentality, Vanney also marveled at the 22-year old's football IQ and wisdom beyond his years. 

“It could come from the education he got in the game, being at [Rosenborg BK as a youth],” suggested Vanney. “He's got a very even-keeled demeanour, is intelligent about the game, sees situations, and is making decisions based off the right information. He's composed on the ball; aware of his strengths, weaknesses, and plays within himself. He's that old mature soul in a young body.”

A self-professed 'fotballidiot', Alseth translated that Norwegian term for the North American ear: “a soccer fanatic. I love playing, watching, reading about it. Just a big fan of the game.”

Days away from taking a job in a bank before getting drafted, Alseth expressed no regrets at the abrupt turn his life took in January, selected in the Third Round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, 65th overall, and signing a first team contract in March.

“It's something I've thought about over the past few months: how different my life could have been if I didn't get drafted,” said Alseth. “I’m happy with the way it all turned out.”

Though, having been recently named to the ACC All-Academic Honor Roll for the fourth-straight year, Alseth was quick to point out the value of education.

“[It] cannot be undervalued,” said Alseth. “You saw how close I was to not ending up a soccer player; there's always a life after soccer. Getting a good education is very important. You should take everything you do serious – you can't choose when to be great.”

Like Vanney said, wise.

Bono, his teammate at Syracuse University recounted their first meeting: “When he came over to the States from Norway he stayed at my house. It took a few hours for him to even talk; really nervous, really shy kid.” 

“It's special for me,” continued Bono. “To know him; help him along in his professional experience now. He's started to get a little more outgoing, talkative in the locker room. I'm really proud of him, happy for him, and to have him in Toronto.”