Maria Thorisdottir’s soccer journey has been removed from typical. “Once I look again on my story, it is fairly bizarre actually,” the Brighton defender admits in an unique interview with Sky Sports activities.
The diversions and challenges are constant all through her profession – a two-year break to pursue handball. A complete of eight years spent on the sidelines with accidents, some career-threatening. By no means fairly nailing down a constant place in her membership profession.
For the latter, there’s a tinge of remorse and reflection. “I want I may have performed extra in a single place and also you think about ‘how good may I’ve been?’. The identical sentiment applies to her damage absences.
However regardless of her unorthodox journey, Thorisdottir has lastly discovered a house at Brighton. She has began in each WSL sport to this point and performed usually as a centre-back.
The message from the membership has been of constructing a undertaking below Melissa Phillips that may permit the Seagulls to compete within the years to come back. “If there’s a membership that may do it, Brighton is certainly certainly one of them,” Thorisdottir says.
And he or she is proving to be a significant a part of its beginnings, with experiences solely enhancing what’s now the very best interval of her profession.
‘I’ve not often performed at centre-back for golf equipment earlier than’
Thorisdottir is the epitome of a flexible participant. Regardless of now taking part in at centre-back for Brighton and having been signed as such for varied WSL groups, she has not often been utilized in that place by her golf equipment – though she has typically performed in central defence for Norway.
“I actually appreciated taking part in as a holding six, that was my favorite place, and I performed there for Klepp [her first club in Norway],” the 30-year-old says of her first experiences of positional adjustments.
“Then I performed for the youth nationwide workforce and so they wanted a centre-back so they simply put me there. So for the nationwide workforce, I’ve at all times been a centre-back however then in golf equipment, I’ve usually been a holding six or an attacking midfielder.
“It was in my final season at Klepp that I performed at centre-back actually, then I moved to Chelsea. I used to be introduced in as a centre-back, performed my first sport there – in all probability the very best sport I had for Chelsea as a centre-back – however then after that, I did not actually play a lot there.
“I acquired moved in all places else so I had a distinct place daily – full-back, midfield, wing-back, however not at centre-back. However on the identical time, I used to be centre-back within the nationwide workforce so it was additionally a bit laborious when you do not play it in your workforce usually. Typically if you’re versatile, you simply have to just accept being moved somewhat bit.
“Then I moved to Man Utd as a centre-back, however performed at right-back. I used to be purchased in as a centre-back with Casey [Stoney], however then Marc Skinner took over and issues modified. I used to be extra of a full-back there, though I performed to centre-back for one of many seasons.
“I’ve actually performed all the pieces else than centre-back for golf equipment, so, proper now, I am very comfortable and taking part in persistently in a single place right here at Brighton.”
I believe Melissa is doing an amazing job and it is an fascinating undertaking that we’re constructing. It is a huge problem for her as nicely to have so many new gamers. You do not construct a workforce over a number of days so it is going to take time. This season, we try a number of new issues so it is going to go up and down and it has. I really feel like once we do play nicely, it seems to be excellent so I believe there’s a shiny future.
‘Handball warm-up made me miss soccer’
Since she was younger, Thorisdottir has performed a number of sports activities. Whereas soccer typically took precedence, it was in 2012 when she determined to focus extra consideration on one other ardour – handball.
But it surely was the reminder of soccer that noticed her return to the game in 2014 as she rejoined Klepp, though that was additionally not the preliminary plan.
“I performed each handball and soccer professionally till I used to be 18, plus I had sports activities faculty, so the overall quantity of coaching was lots. Soccer at all times got here first as a result of I used to be chosen for the youth nationwide workforce earlier than the handball nationwide workforce in order that was at all times the precedence.
“We went to Japan for the U20 World Cup and I keep in mind coming again and I used to be simply so uninterested in soccer. I used to be like ‘nope, I do not need to do that anymore’ and I actually needed to offer handball an opportunity.
“I performed handball for 2 years, then sadly, with my historical past from after I was younger, I acquired a patellar tendon difficulty in my left knee due to overload. That’s nonetheless with me at this time and it is nothing I’ll eliminate.
“That then made me keep extra on the sidelines as a result of handball is a variety of leaping and issues on a tough flooring. And the comic story is the warm-up for handball is definitely soccer and everybody loves it, however I keep in mind I at all times appeared ahead to the warm-up as a substitute of the primary handball session.
“I began to understand that I actually did miss soccer, so I made a decision to maneuver dwelling after two years away and I wasn’t planning to play soccer at the moment. I used to be considering ‘I will have a break now and let my physique relaxation’, however then Klepp employed an Icelandic coach and he actually needed me to come back and have a session.
“And right here I’m. I by no means appeared again.”
‘Think about what I may do in these eight years of damage’
However a succession of accidents has arguably stalled Thorisdottir’s profession at instances. She estimates she has spent a complete of eight years on the sidelines.
“Once I give it some thought, eight years is lots. Think about what I may do in these eight years,” she displays.
“I have been very unfortunate with accidents I’ve had as a result of nearly each one has put me out for a yr.
“I had one very unhealthy one which stored me out for 2 years from 2015 till 2017, which was a Lisfranc damage in my foot with problems with stress fractures and different issues that threatened my profession.
“That put issues in perspective and I actually realized lots about myself at the moment, since you go from being a workforce participant to all of the sudden be alone. It is by no means good to be injured however, on the identical time, it is a good alternative to be taught lots about your self and use it for one thing constructive.
“I have been working lots on my physicality and being robust is certainly one of my strengths. My mentality as nicely may be very robust from being injured.”
I haven’t spoken to her but, I will have a dialog along with her in a number of weeks. I’m actually trying ahead to it – hopefully she picks me [for February internationals]. I am very excited to get to know her, I’ve heard a variety of constructive issues. It was time to get one thing fully new into the workforce so we are able to begin with a contemporary web page. Hopefully she will be able to deliver one thing good and we are able to have a very good future.
‘I by no means thought Chelsea curiosity would occur to me’
Thorisdottir first arrived within the WSL when she signed for Chelsea in 2017, though she additionally had the choice of becoming a member of Arsenal.
It adopted on from her eye-catching efficiency for Norway at Euro 2017, regardless of the nation crashing out within the group stage with out selecting up a degree.
“For me, I’ve at all times simply performed as a result of I believed it was enjoyable. I additionally cherished staying at dwelling, I had the membership [Klepp] 5 minutes away from my home and I am a really dwelling particular person, so the considered shifting out by no means entered my mind,” Thorisdottir explains.
“Once I performed within the 2017 Euros for myself, it went nicely, however for Norway, it did not actually go so nicely in that match. However I all of the sudden had an agent calling me saying Arsenal and Chelsea have been . I did not actually suppose that may ever occur to somebody like me from somewhat farm city in Norway. How may folks see me?
“I really went to Arsenal to take a look on the coaching floor and I used to be shocked as a result of it was such a distinct world to what I used to be used to. However then I began to really feel like ‘possibly I’m able to take the subsequent step and problem myself’.
“Then I selected Chelsea and I’ve by no means regretted that alternative. So it was a giant transfer and likewise a giant change professionally and all the pieces from again dwelling.”
Thorisdottir on going through Chelsea on Saturday, dwell on Sky Sports activities…
“I am actually trying ahead to the sport. I really like taking part in towards the massive groups and it’s at all times a bit particular taking part in towards a workforce you performed for.
“However we all know that Chelsea are Chelsea and we’re in all probability going to defend lots, however hopefully we are able to problem them like we did within the first league sport towards them.
“However they’ve threats in all places so it does not matter what participant they placed on, so we’ve got to verify we all know the qualities of the gamers and hopefully we are able to cease them.”
‘I now really feel essential at Brighton and might categorical myself’
Final summer season noticed Thorisdottir be part of her third WSL workforce in Brighton, signing from Manchester United after two years with the membership.
The defender now has the fitting instruments – the membership, the place and hopefully an absence of accidents – to flourish and he or she desires to specific herself in a means she has not been capable of to this point.
“I’ve cherished it because the first minute and it’s one thing about feeling essential. From the primary dialog I had with Mel [Phillips], you felt that they actually needed you and that is a sense I have not felt shortly as a result of when you do not play usually, you are a bench participant, you do not really feel essential. You by no means do, even for those who ought to – that is simply how it’s.
“I believe each participant will know what I am speaking about – if you play usually, it does one thing to you and you’re feeling assured. It is simpler to play nicely when you could have the consistency.
Thorisdottir on Brighton’s future within the WSL
“The WSL is a extremely aggressive league and so they [Brighton] have jumped on in order that the hole does not get too huge.
“They actually need to compete and we’ve mentioned we need to be a top-four workforce sooner or later. In all probability not proper now, however I believe we’ve got an opportunity to do it if we proceed signing good gamers and construct on the bottom that we have already got.
“I am very comfortable that I mentioned sure to coming right here and it is good to be a part of this journey.”
“When you have one thing like I did at United the place you get one sport there after which 4 video games out, then that one sport there, it’s so laborious to get the consistency and really do nicely as a result of for those who do not do completely nicely within the sport you really get the prospect to play in, then you definitely’re out once more.
“So it’s actually laborious, however I’ve loved all my years in England to this point. It is difficult, however proper now, I’m loving it.
“I really feel like I have not been capable of categorical myself absolutely but and I actually really feel prefer it’s coming now. I nonetheless really feel that I’ve a variety of years left, even when I am 30. I actually really feel just like the years which have handed, I’ve constructed one thing I actually need to get out and I really feel like I am beginning to get it out now which is basically good.”