Norway forward Emilie Haavi revealed she “couldn’t say no” to a move to the Boston Breakers after coach Matt Beard finally obtained her signature following two failed attempts while coach at Liverpool.
The 24-year-old, who has played in two World Cups and a European Championship, will join the Breakers from Toppserien side LSK Kvinner, where she finished off a third straight Norwegian title on the weekend with LSK’s 4-0 win over Sandviken.
Haavi, who would have been going into her tenth season in Norway next year had she decided to remain with LSK, confessed the opportunity was too good to turn down when the Breakers made their approach.
“To play in the U.S has always been a dream of mine, so when I got this opportunity, I couldn’t say no,” she said. “I’m glad Matt still wanted to sign me after I turned him down twice. He seems like a really nice person, and I like his way of coaching, so I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
Haavi, who has played most of her football recently as a left sided wide player, either in midfield or as part of a front three, will add much needed quality to a Breakers side who have had a tough few years in the NWSL.
For some, the thought of joining a team that finished bottom of the league last year wouldn’t be overly appealing. However, Haavi is confident she can have a positive impact on her side, and expressed her confidence in her new coach.
“I know that Boston has had some tough seasons, but I believe in Matt and his team, and I really hope to help the Breakers pick some more points for the next season.”
The belief the new Breaker has in Beard is very much reciprocated, with the former Liverpool boss being a long time admirer of his new forward, having tried to sign her twice while at Liverpool. As a result of this, the transfer has been in the pipeline for a few months, with the winger visiting Boston over the summer to discuss the move with the Breakers.
Haavi admitted that while excited about the opportunity, the NWSL presents a bit of an unknown for a player who has spent her whole career in Norway. But she has been keeping up to date with their progress.
“To be honest, I don’t know that much (about the league), but of course after I heard that Boston was interested in me, I’ve tried to stay updated on the matches through Twitter.
“I know that the league is physical, and that the soccer is more direct than what I’m used to from Lillestrøm. I was in Boston this summer, and I have to say that the professionalism around the team really impressed me.”
With Euro 2017 on the horizon next summer in the Netherlands, the Breakers’ newest recruit is likely to miss part of the NWSL season as she goes off to represent one of the brightest young sides in next year’s Championships.
The move to the Breakers, she hopes, will add a new dimension to her game, benefiting both her new club, and the national team.
She concluded: “I know that this will be a big challenge for me.
“Like I said, the soccer is pretty different from what I’m used to. I hope to improve my physical skills, because I think the biggest difference from playing in Norway and playing international games with the national team, is that it’s faster and players are generally stronger.
“I think we (Norway) have a very exciting group of players. We have a lot of young and technical players, and I think the potential of the group is so big. We have a lot to improve until the Euros, but I’m sure we’ll be ready when it kicks off.”
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