Without question, Cam Weaver is taking the road less traveled to his career destination. From the obscure first steps at Skagit Valley College to, initially, a part-time role at Seattle University and then the final guy to make the cut with the Sounders. He made the most of every move however, winning an NCAA title with the Redhawks and USL rookie of the year honors in 2006 after replacing the injured Mykel Galindo and scoring a league-best 18 goals. Weaver scored nine goals in his first year with Norwegian second division club FK Haugesund and is now preparing for his second season, which begins April 6.
Tell us about Haugesund and what the winter’s been like?
Haugesund is a small coastal town. The weather is similar to Seattle but windier because it’s directly on the North Sea/Atlantic Ocean. The temperatures are mild here compared to other parts of Norway, but it can get lots of rain and wind since it’s directly on the west coast. There is a downtown feel in the city center, but in only minutes you have access to beautiful countryside.
What about Norwegian culture have you found interesting?
They have saved billions of dollars from business profits to fuel their economy in the future. American pop culture is everywhere. They have a doomsday seed storage located in the northern part of the country. People only drink black coffee. Traditional Norwegian food isn’t very good, and things seem to move slower because of a laid back attitude towards life.
Given the size of the town and the community’s support of the team, you must hold a certain amount of celebrity status. During the offseason, how do you spend your time?
I do get recognized in town for being a FKH player–probably due to the fact that it’s a smaller town and FKH is by far the biggest sports club in the area. Much of my time is spent training and relaxing in my apartment due to the weather. I try to read as much as I can when I’m alone, but I also like to get together with teammates and socialize.
How do you stay in touch with what’s going on back home?
Internet, of course. I read lots of articles and talk with my family through email and Skype. Skype is a simple program you can download that allows you to connect to other Skype users for free and talk to them using a microphone and a webcam right from your computer. I can also call regular phones in the U.S. for a very reasonable rate. I use Skype to talk with my family face to face. It's a great way to stay in touch with people.
What distinguishes Norwegian soccer from, say, the U.S. or other European leagues?
Norwegian soccer is very direct, with an aggressive style of play compared to southern European leagues. There’s also a lot of emphasis on formation and tactics. We are in preseason training right now and the league starts in April and goes until November. We have over a month off in the winter, as well as two weeks mid-summer. Soccer is the biggest sport here without question, so there is lots of pressure to perform every match. This makes the games very intense–it’s a war every time you step on the pitch. The fans here are very passionate which makes for a fun atmosphere.
What is Haugesund’s immediate goals and have there been any significant changes at the club in the offseason?
The main focus for Haugesund right now is to get promoted. The club has come a long way in the past few years. Making it to the Cup Final last year was a big step for us, and now we want to focus on the league and prove that we belong with the best in Norway. We have almost all of our important players returning this year, along with two new signings who will both have an immediate impact. The club is also looking to bring in a few more players before the league begins to strengthen the team.
Which team sets the standard for Norwegian football, and which teams are Haugesund’s toughest opposition to earn promotion to the top flight?
The team with the most success from Norway would be Rosenborg. They have won many titles in Norway and are also regulars in the Champions League. As far as our team is concerned, we will be looking to knock off the teams who were relegated from the top league last year. This includes Start, Odd Grenland, and Sandefjord. Hopefully we can push above these teams and earn a promotion spot.
National team and Revs forward Pat Noonan recently signed for Aalesund, which probably surprises a lot of people. Should it?
It does not surprise me that more Americans are making the trip overseas. I have enjoyed the passion for the game over here, so I would guess that's a big reason why other players are wanting to make the move as well. Scouts are always looking for players from all leagues, there is a lot of exposure here and things can move very quickly.
Your season with the Sounders caught most people by surprise, but what about you? And how quickly did Haugesund take notice?
I came into my season with the Sounders with no expectations. I knew I had the ability to perform at that level, so I just had to wait for my chances and make the most out of them. I understand it was surprising for some because I was coming from a Division II school, but Seattle University was a great program that gave me the foundations for transitioning into a professional. Several opportunities came up when the Sounders season was over and Norway was one of the options. Norway presented a great opportunity to play and live in Europe, and will also hopefully give me a chance to further my career. It seemed like the best fit for me, so here I am.
What’s your, say, five-year plan look like now?
Professionally I think I can continue to improve as a player in each of the next five years, I don’t have a plan for where I will be playing because things happen so fast you can’t plan for it. However, I will strive in the next five years to reach the highest level of soccer possible. Off the field I plan on traveling and experiencing different cultures to learn from them and just for personal enjoyment.