A Floridian in Norway.

Mark Ortega of the Miami Sharks is trying out for Alta, a Norwegian First Division Club and was interviewed recently by the local newspaper there. Below is an abreviated translation, courtesy of Houston Stars goalkeeper, Grunde Ronholt.
You can read the original interview in Norwegian here: http://www.altaposten.no/lokalt/sport/

[b]"An American Trying Out [/b]

By Magne Ek

Will center back Mark Ortega mark Alta's second signing before returning to the 1st division?


Alta player Eirik Engelsen saw great potential in Mark Ortega who performed his first workout for Alta yesterday. Eirik was impressed with the American's good defense and his eye for the game. Alta, as a club, has not been lucky this summer searching for players.

'I am staying a few days now and am looking forward to having a talk with the coach. I want to know what he is looking for and what he would be expecting from me', says the 30-year old Ortega, who has previously played in Spain.
Coach Håvard Lillemoen wasn't available to meet Ortega, however his assistent, coach Kai Olsen, and several others were present for the tryout.

'Last season i played in Santander in Spain, and before that i played in Miami for 3 years', says Ortega who has 26 caps for the US MNT, all in Pan Am competitions.


Ortega was in Denmark last week and on very short notice flew up to Alta. Mark had to look up the city in an atlas and also searched for it online using Google Earth, Ortega was shocked how far north the city was. He was picked up at the airport and only saw a freeway then a mall. He says he is used to a slightly larger city (Alta is really tiny). He wondered whether the mall is all they had in Alta…


Mark is a self proclaimed adventurer and has to work in addition to playing handball, He is an all around athlete having done gymnastics along with playing American Football and other sports in college. He started handball following a chance meeting with former Romanian Olympic handball player and current Miami Sharks head coach, Cristian Zaharia.
Mark will continue going to practice this week and then the club will decide whether they will offer him a contract or not."

Commentary: Coach Zaharia does it again. (quit rolling your eyes, they might get stuck!:))