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Ingvild Isaksen Interview on Women’s Soccer United
Norway international midfielder, Ingvild Isaksen embarks on Italian job.
Ingvild Isaksen is a part of Italian women’s football history as a member of Juventus Women who recently joined the Italian Women’s Serie A, with the ambition to become the leading women’s team.
The talented midfielder made the move to Italy from the Norwegian Toppserien side, Stabæk. Isaksen is already experiencing the many benefits of the resources available at Juventus and is a part of a squad with a good mix of young talented girls as well as the more experienced national team players.
In an exclusive interview with Women’s Soccer United, Isaksen speaks about her new challenge, what lessons were learned by Norway WNT at Euro 2017 and her own personal career targets.
Women’s Soccer United: How did your move to Juventus from Stabæk come about and what appeals to you most about this new challenge?
Ingvild Isaksen: I was searching for new adventures and challenges, and I got to know about Juventus through my agent. There were several things making me interested in this opportunity. First, Juventus is a big club, with great traditions. They have high ambitions for the women’s team, and want to work to soon be among the biggest clubs in Europe. I was also tempted by the challenges of living in a new country and learning a new language.
Women’s Soccer United: What are your first impressions of Italy during the build up to the start of the new season? Are their many similarities/differences you have witnessed so far compared to your experiences in Norway?
Ingvild Isaksen: Coming to Juventus, I immediately felt that I had come to a big and professional club. The biggest difference from Norway is not the work we give in to it, but the resources helping you along the way. Especially the help I have received with my injury is beyond anything I have ever experienced before. You just need to make sure to be prepared and give it your all, and everything around you is completely under control.
Women’s Soccer United: Rita Guarino became the first ever coach of the newly formed Juventus Women’s squad. From your experience so far with season preparations, what would you say is Rita’s biggest strength as a coach?
Ingvild Isaksen: Rita has a lot of energy and always expects the best from us. She is also a really nice person, and I can’t wait to be back on the field and start working with her.
Women’s Soccer United: Tell us a little bit about the Juventus women’s team. Who should we watch for in the Italian Women’s Serie A?
Ingvild Isaksen: Our team has a good mix of young talented girls and some more experienced national team players. I think we have many players who has the potential to have a big season in the black and white shirt. I can’t wait to see the development of each individual and of the team throughout the season.
Women’s Soccer United: What are the club’s ambitions for their inaugural Serie A season? Has this squad got what it takes to claim the title?
Ingvild Isaksen: In Juventus they always talk about winning. Juventus is the most successful club in Italian history, and now they want to have the leading women’s team as well. Our team has so many good qualities, so it feels very natural to have great ambitions for this season and our goal is to win the league and get a spot in the Champions League next year.
Women’s Soccer United: Norway seems to be experiencing some upheaval after Euro 2017. What changes do you think need to be made in order to get closer to being among the best in the world again and winning a major tournament title. What lessons were learned during Euro 2017 that will help Norway develop and prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers?
Ingvild Isaksen: I think that in order to develop ourselves, challenges needs to be overcome. The bad results in the Euros allowed us, the clubs and the federation to really evaluate and take a good look at where we are right now, what are we working on which is good, and what do we need to change. There’s also been a lot of debates about the possibilities for our young talents and what changes needs to be done to ensure the best follow-up and development for the girls who is our future, which I believe is very important if we want to keep up with the great international development in women’s football.
It’s hard to name just one thing that needs to change, because one thing does not rule out the other. We need to find a path we all believe in, and work as hard as we can as a team to achieve our new goals, being extremely thorough and honest with ourselves along the way.
Women’s Soccer United: How has women’s football advanced since you first started playing and how do you think it can further improve and progress?
Ingvild Isaksen: I truly believe that women’s football is just going to get bigger and bigger. We’ve already seen the start of it, full stadiums, more media coverage, and huge clubs wanting to engage in the women’s side. When I was young I didn’t know about any female football players, but now we see young girls having f.x. Ada Hegerberg, Pernille Harder, Alex Morgan as their idols, and that makes me very happy.
Women’s Soccer United: What personal targets do you want to achieve in your football career both at club and international level?
Ingvild Isaksen: First of all, I am going to be injury free. In the last three years I have been more on the sideline than on the pitch. It’s been some tough years, having to watch big games and championships, that I have been working so hard to be a part of, go on without me. But at the same time, I have learned so much about myself and I’ve really got to know how much football means to me and how grateful I am every time I get to tie my football boots and run out on the pitch. I still remember my comeback after I tore my ACL as IF it was yesterday, it was the best feeling ever. I go to training every day with that feeling in the back of my mind, knowing how lucky I am that I get to devote all my time to the sport I love.
I hope my time in Juventus gives me challenges to grow on, both as a player and as a person. I always have high expectations for myself and for my team and I always want to win. I think that this teams way of playing football will suit me and I hope to be a big contributor for the team to reach its goals.
At the same time, I can’t wait to be able to join in with the National Team again, and start working on new goals with the best teammates. I have not yet played in a World cup due to injuries, so reaching the Championship in France is a huge goal of mine. It will be really tough, but I truly believe we can make it.
The most important thing for me is to always work to reach my potential and try to be the best as I can be every day. And as long as I find joy in playing football, I will continue working towards that goal. I believe that if you keep working hard, you will get what you deserve.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.