U.S. forward Pat Noonan got a change of address during the break between camps, signing a contract with Aalesund of the Norwegian Tippeligaen. ussoccer.com popped into Pat's room while he was setting up his new laptop to find out the inside scoop on the move overseas.
ussoccer.com: How did the opportunity with Aalesund come about?
Pat: "With the Revs not picking up my option, it gave me the chance to go overseas and experience something new. My agent told me there was interest in Scandinavia. I didn't know much about the leagues there, so once some club names were mentioned I started doing some research. Adin Brown is at the club, and he's my former roommate, so I've been following his career there a bit. In the end, Aalesund showed the most interest. They have a new coach and a new stadium, so there are some exciting prospects there. The team has been finishing around mid-table, so hopefully I can go and try and help."
ussoccer.com: Had you been in contact with Adin before the signing?
Pat: "Mostly through e-mail, but we have spoken a few times recently and he has given me his feedback on the club. He likes the coach, and thinks there are good things ahead. I'd like to think I can go and help the cause."
ussoccer.com: What has he told you about the experience of living there?
Pat: "He gave me good insight into what to expect. He told me that it's a beautiful little town. Soccer is the big sport, so they have a good following. The people are very friendly, and his teammates have treated him very well. All those things go into consideration when you are choosing to go to a new place."
ussoccer.com: Was playing overseas something that has always interested you, or did you see your career playing out in MLS?
Pat: "Europe was always an option. It just depended on the situation. I played out my first MLS contract last year, and there had been some interest overseas. Because of my injuries, I think some clubs lost interest at the time. At that point, my interest level wasn't that high either. I re-signed with Revs and really hoped to win a championship. I found out in the off-season that my option was not picked up. I was disappointed in their decision, but maybe it was a blessing. Now I have the chance to go overseas and give it a shot, and hopefully move on from there."
ussoccer.com: You've had such a great core group of players in New England for several years, and come so close to winning a championship. Does it feel like you're leaving some unfinished business?
Pat: "No question it's tough to leave. You don't find too many locker rooms that have that kind of chemistry both on and off field. There was a lot of talent, and really good people as well. It's difficult going to the final three years in a row and not winning one. There is sadness in leaving close friends and teammates, but it is time for a new experience and new challenge."
ussoccer.com: Any ideas on why you couldn't get over the hump?
Pat: "No. In all three finals, I thought we could win the game. Maybe we were lacking a killer instinct. In 2005, it wasn't a great game. There were no really great chances for either team. It was a defensive game, and I felt like we were just as deserving to win. In 2006, we were up a goal, and played better than Houston. We had a lapse for 12 seconds, and all of a sudden you lose on penalties. That was the hardest loss to take, because we were minutes away from winning. Last year, same thing: Houston found away to win. If you get blown out it's one thing, because you can look for things that you could do differently. I thought we were the better team in all three of them and just couldn't get a result."
ussoccer.com: Do you think the move to Europe will have an impact on your prospects with the national team?
Pat: "I don't think so. Bob is straightforward and fair. If you are doing well with your club, regardless if you are in Europe or not, you get a shot. He is pretty good about keeping track of players all over the world, as you can see from all the different faces that come in and out. From there, it's all about coming into each camp and performing. Right now, that's all I am focused on."