Mix Diskerud looked to be heading to a new club as a free agent, but after spending part of January in US National Team camp, he opted to return to Rosenborg in Norway's Premier League. The club finished 3rd in 2012, meaning another shot at the Europa League for the 2013-14 season. Rosenborg opens against Odd on March 17th.
Why Are We Here?
After making 81 appearances for Stabaek, Mix Diskerud went on loan to Belgium's Gent in 2012. He returned to Norway as a member of Rosenborg, a high profile move for any player who has spent time in that country. Diskerud represents the United States now, but he was born and brought up in the soccer culture of Norway. Playing for Rosenborg is a very big deal. Scoring goals that advance them in Europe makes that even better. Diskerud did just that in 2012, though Rosenborg failed to make it past the group stage in the 2012-13 Europa League.
And Where Are We?
Trondheim, Norway's third biggest city with just over 175,000 residents. The main part of the city juts out into the aptly named Trondheimsfjord and though not an island the Nidelva River all but separates it from the mainland. 'Picturesque' barely does it justice. The city is famous for the Nidaros Cathedral that took a couple centuries to build, opening around the year 1300. Trondheim is also the home of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the second biggest college in Norway.
And The Club?
For those outside of Norway, Rosenborg is the most recognizable club. That's because of their 22 titles, with no other team hitting double digits in that category. Starting in 1992, Rosenborg won 13 consecutive Tippeligaen titles. They finished third in 2011 and '12 after winning the title in 2009 and '10. This is a club built to dominate at home and compete in Europe. The Troll Kids (seriously) made the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 1997.
How Tough Is The Tippeligaen?
Lately, it hasn't been the one-team league it used to be when Rosenborg was filling their trophy cabinet. In a league that's 27th in the UEFA rankings, only the champion qualifies for the Champions League. In 2012, that's Molde. Rosenborg's 3rd-place finish means the final European slot, entering the Europa League in the first qualifying round. The Norwegian Premier League is a 16-club league that plays a March - November schedule in the same calendar year, so they're not in sync with most of Europe. Blame the weather, but Russia shifted their schedule after deciding it would make them more competitive in Europe. The Premier League carries on with a season confined to one calendar year.
Though it opened in 1947, Lerkendal Stadium is now a modern all-seater soccer venue that looks nothing like its original configuration. Rosenborg have played there since 1957, taking it over in the early 2000's, and it has undergone multiple revamps that are ongoing. No part of the current stadium is older than 1996, and it has a listed capacity of 21,116.