Born in Norway, Fjeldberg had come to Dayton to rekindle his love for the game after his career seemed to have stalled with his club team Ullensaker / Kisa. He had made 17 caps for the Norwegian national youth team at the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 levels, but had come to a point where he had to decide whether to stay on the path to becoming a professional Soccer or go to school.
When a Dayton assistant accidentally made contact on Facebook after coming across a video of him, Fjeldberg realized that there was a way in the US that he could do both.
“I felt a little stuck in Norway, like my career was going nowhere. I felt like a change in the landscape and the pace and what college football is all about would rekindle my love for football, and it did, “said Fjeldberg. “I knew the design would be an option. My first priority was to work hard and get my love back, but that was always the ultimate goal. “
The 22-year-old said he was grateful to UD for giving him this chance and noted the atmosphere created by the Red Scare fans, his teammates and coaches: “Super nice facilities and resources around the team – there is nothing like it. ”
Dayton thought Fjeldberg was a good fit too. He made the 2017 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team newbie and led the Flyers as junior with 11 goals and nine assists in 2019 when he was A-10 Offensive Player of the Year. He has scored 17 goals and 17 assists in three seasons, with his senior citizens campaign being postponed this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is listed as a midfielder / defender but plays the center-forward seat for the Flyers.
“I’m good on the ball, I’m not very fast, but I’m calm and creative and I create a lot of chances, score a lot of great goals,” said Fjeldberg when asked how he would describe himself as a player. “I have to work a lot on the defensive, I am a creator, I like to sit in the middle and create for other people. I think I would complement some of the players there (with Cincinnati FC). I think it goes well together. “
The 5-foot-10-year-old went cautiously upbeat about the draft, warning his parents not to get their hopes up. His father Harald had been his coach until he was 14 when he formed the senior national team of his club and had a great influence on him as a player.
When the draft began at 2 p.m., Fjeldberg watched the first lap MLSSoccer.com‘s live streaming show while his parents were following on Twitter from Norway, but the last two rounds were only done via a draft tracker and when the second round started after 4:30 p.m. Fjeldberg had lessons and his parents went into the Bed. There is a six hour time difference.
“I FaceTimed my mom and she was in bed,” said Fjeldberg. “I don’t know if I woke them up, but they were excited for me.”
A short time later, FC Cincinnati, director of scouting and player recruitment, called Hunter Freeman, Fjeldberg. It was the first time he’d spoken to someone from the club, despite Fjeldberg’s opinion that Dayton’s coach Dennis Currier had been contacted through him before the draft.
Fjeldberg said he already knew a lot about Cincinnati FC but did more research after the draft.
“(Head coach) Jaap Stam is a legend in Europe,” said Fjeldberg. “I grew up admiring him, I love his style of play and I bet he’s a great coach too. I’m just very humble and honored to be part of what he does. “
His time at the FCC won’t start immediately, however. Fjeldberg will get the chance to play with the Flyers this spring thanks to a unique rule MLS added this season to give the teams two off-roster spots for some players to finish their college careers.
Fjeldberg, who would hold a valuable international spot on the roster, will meet with club staff next week but said he should join the FCC in May. He hasn’t played a competitive game with the Dayton Dutch Lions since last summer, other than an intra-squad game that UD played in the fall.
Dayton had its first practice session on Friday and the season starts on February 20th. Meanwhile, MLS has yet to announce a start date for the season as the league tries to assess when fans might be able to return to the stands.
“I’ve had a season playing games so I’m super fit when I go,” said Fjeldberg. “It’s really nice that I can finish my team. We have a really talented team, great coaching staff and we have a good thing about our competitiveness. Our goal is to win a championship and I think we have a great chance to do so. “