The Torch

Skage Simonsen Seeing Success

The Freshman from Norway has been a kicking' force for the Red Storm

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Skage Simonsen Seeing Success

Torch Photo/Nick Bello

Torch Photo/Nick Bello

Torch Photo/Nick Bello

Brendan Murray, Staff Writer

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The countdown is over, the clock resets to 45 minutes, the game is about to kick off, the first player that stands out on the field of the starting 11 is one of the tallest, number 8 the starting midfielder, Skage Simonsen.

Simonsen stands at 6’3, 185lbs, he is a freshman from Bergen, Norway, who, despite his youth and inexperience in the United States is a budding star for the Red Storm.  Growing up in Norway and making the transition to living in the United States has been a tall order but not one that Simonsen is afraid to take.

“I liked growing up there [Bergen] everything is kind of different, school, soccer, and the weather are all different from the United States.” Simonsen said in a recent interview with the Torch.  

Simonsen credits his father Bjorn for Simonsen’s love for the game of soccer.

“My father first of all, everyone played when we were little.  It [soccer] is the biggest sport in Norway growing up,” Simonsen said of where his love for soccer came from.

Simonsen acknowledges great soccer players such as Ronaldinho and Paul Pogba as players that he enjoyed watching when growing up.  They provided the blueprint for Simonsen on what it takes to become a great player.

Simonsen describes himself as big, technical and aggressive in the attacking third of the field.

While Simonsen is known as a chance creator, he doesn’t forget about his responsibilities as a member of a  team. Playing for a coach like Dr. Dave Masur, who prides himself on his team’s abilities to stay organized and defend, Simonsen has learned that defense must be a focus for any player on the St. John’s soccer team.  

Simonsen noted that the impact that  Dr. Masur has had on him in his first year.  He recalls speaking extensively with Masur before the season started to train and prepare himself the challenges of a long season.

“I spoke a lot with Coach Masur before I got here about training and running.  After that, I just listen to those who’ve been here for a few years now,” he said. “ Learning from them about playing in the United States.”

As showcased by his play on the pitch so far this season, Simonsen’s toughest opponent hasn’t been anyone who he’s played against. It’s something far beyond his control.

“I remember the first day of practice here, [ at St. John’s] I almost didn’t make it,” Simonsen said.

When training began in the middle of the summer the humidity that he encountered was unlike any weather he was accustomed to in Norway.

The other challenge for Simonsen has been the language barrier that he is improving on every day with his teammates.  The close-knit atmosphere of the team has made living in the United States and playing together and winning games much easier for Simonsen.       

No matter the adversity of new language or the new environment that Simonsen is encamped in now, none of that has stopped him from being one of the Red Storm’s top players on the field this year.  Simonsen has made an immediate impact for the Red Storm both offensively and defensively, so far Simonsen has totaled 3 goals and 2 assists for a total of 8 points on the season.

Simonsen’s presence on the field is clear showing his ability to get in on the attack with his teammates as well as, his patience under pressure from defenders is a quality uncommon with such a young player.  In the Red Storm’s last game Simonsen was all over the field intercepting Simonsen is having a great season for a freshman and will only get better as he matures into his role on the Red Storm.

With the regular season moving past the half-way point, when asked what his goals are to end the season, Simonsen kept it simple.

“I hope that the team makes the tournament (Big East Tournament) first of all, I want to win as many games as we can in the Big East.”

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Skage Simonsen Seeing Success