By Will Dieterich
ICELAND — Since my last message from Sauðárkrókur, I have been cleared to play and have started the past four games. The team unfortunately has struggled a bit but this has given me an opportunity to really show my ability and what I have worked so hard to get here for: to play games, gain experience, and further my career to higher levels of the soccer world.
Not to mention the fact that I have been able to see such a beautiful country that many Americans never have the opportunity to see.
After four games I have done quite well and gained some recognition from some other teams around the league despite our team as a whole not finding the winning path quite yet.
A road trip to the town of Akranes was a very good experience to play in front of a good crowd in a place with a lot of history. Akranes is a club that spent many years in the top flight of Icelandic football and is one of the most successful clubs in the history of Icelandic soccer. By the looks of things they will be returning back to the premier league following the season. After one of the longer 90 minute games of my career (long because of the barrage of shots and action I faced), I was happy to hear the Icelandic articles about the game spoke very highly of my performance.
The past few weeks has been a great experience here in Sauðárkrókur. I spent one of the days off climbing Mount Tindastóll, this is where the team name comes from.
Coming from Florida, big hills are pretty much the extent of the changing in elevation I am used to, so this was a cool experience for me. The climb to the top of the mountain took about two hours and was not exactly an easy hike but well worth it for the incredible views from the top. Along the way we passed by wild blue and black berries that the local people explained were safe to eat, and pointed out the red berries were not so safe to eat. It was interesting to watch the sheep scurry off as we got within ten or fifteen feet of them.
Towards the top there were still a few patches of snow that managed to make it through the summer. Once we arrived at the very top we all signed the guest book that they had for anyone who made the ascent to the peak. This was a really cool experience, especially being that the sports club was named after the mountain.
One of the other excursions with some players from the team was to a nearby town Hofsós which had a swimming pool basically on the side of a cliff. The pool looked out on the water and allowed you to see miles and miles of mountains, the sea and a nice view of the town of Sauðárkrókur.
Interestingly enough I am not the only American in Sauðárkrókur, nor am I the only American soccer player here. The women’s team also has an American. Thankfully she has been able to help guide me a bit to adapting to various things in the town such as the unusual hours of certain convenience stores, banks and restaurants, or even what sights that I should check out while I am here.
The past week a few basketball players have found their way to Sauðárkrókur as well for the upcoming basketball season. Two of the four teams we have faced since I have arrived showcased an American player. It appears Iceland is quite welcoming to Americans, which is always good thing.
The next few days should be quite interesting with the big news surrounding the volcano. I am not close to the volcano at all but this could be something that impacts a lot of people depending on how it progresses.
I was told by an Icelandic player on the team that I should expect for the volcano to erupt soon, but that was August 18th and things have not been taking place as projected. The upcoming days will be interesting here to see what the eventual result will be but most of the news I find out is the same as anyone in America or the rest of the world gets to hear.
My flight home is not till the end of September so I doubt I will be effected at all by this volcanic activity. But only time will tell.
With four games remaining in the season I know that I have to make a solid impact and I can continue to progress in my career to higher levels. Two games will be in the capital city Reykjavik, so this will hopefully give me a chance to play in front of some of the other teams’ coaches. I am thankful for this opportunity here in Iceland and I am trying to make the best of every game, training session, and adventure this country has to offer. I look forward to giving more updates in the upcoming weeks.