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Norwegian wingback puts banking job on hold to play for Toronto FC

Norwegian wingback puts banking job on hold

Toronto FC's gain has proved to Norwegian banking's loss.

One day after getting a job in a bank back home, wingback Oyvind Alseth learned he had been drafted by Toronto in the third round â€” 65th overall — in the January MLS SuperDraft. 

He was en route to the gym when he got the news via text from a friend at Syracuse University.

"I showed up (at the bank) the next day and explained the situation," Alseth said. "Luckily my supervisor was a soccer player when he was younger, so he understood completely."

The six-foot 170-pound finance major has made the most of his MLS opportunity, impressing Toronto enough to earn a contract.

"I think Oyvind was a steal," said coach Greg Vanney.

While very much a work in progress, Alseth is seen by Vanney as having a lot of upside. 

"You can tell that he knows the game, he understands the game ... He's got good intelligence and he's technically very good. Very composed when he gets on the ball."

In four seasons at Syracuse, the 22-year-old Alseth made 82 appearances with seven goals and 18 assists. He was a team captain as a junior and senior. 

He played with Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono and midfielder Sergio Camargo at Syracuse and won a PDL championship with Camargo at K-W (Kitchener-Waterloo) United FC, a TFC partner club.

Prior to Syracuse, he played for Rosenborg's under-19 team in Norway.

He chose to try the U.S. college route after determining that the road to Rosenborg's first team would prove difficult.

Alseth, who plays primarily on the right side, becomes the 28th player on Toronto's roster and fills its eighth and last international spot.

A fan of the "Football Manager" computer game, Alseth is savouring actually getting to play with some of the sport's biggest names.

"It's a very big step and a very big opportunity for me."

Vanney says Alseth quickly earned the respect of his new teammates. Pronouncing his name has proved to be tougher.

The Norwegian pronunciation is "AYDIN ALL'-sett" but Alseth is happy enough with an anglicized "Oy-vin Al-seth." Some have simplified things even more by just calling him by the letter O.

"I've got used to responding to pretty much anything similar to my name," he said with a smile.

Alseth is already proving to be a cool customer, despite shaking like a leaf when he met the Toronto media for the first time. Reporters assumed it was nerves but it turned out he had just got out of a ice bath.

As for his banking career, Vanney says it will have to wait.

"He can always go work in a bank later when he's run his legs into the ground. We're happy to have him. He's a good kid and I think he's got a bright future."


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press