MANILA, Philippines — Filipino athletes across the world are making waves in their own respective sports.
From hoopers Kai Sotto and Jalen Green in the United States, to tennisters Alex and Miko Eala in Spain, there is no shortage of athletic talent among our countrymen.
In the Nordic land of Norway, meanwhile, another athlete of Filipino heritage is also carrying the banner of Pinoy sporting excellence; this time in the football pitch.
Born to a Filipino mother and a Norwegian father in Bodo, Norway, Sara Eggesvik has already made a name for herself in the realm of women's football.
Having played professionally for clubs both in Norway and in England, and also internationally for Norway's youth teams, Eggesvik is more than a force to be reckoned with on the football pitch.
Like brother, like sister
Though now having already her own history with the sport, Eggesvik's first encounter with football came through her older brother.
Seeing her sibling play during their childhood inspired the 23-year-old booter to try the sport on her own, and eventually grew a liking to the "beautiful game."
"I had an older brother, he played football and I wanted to be like him… that's how I got involved in football," Eggesvik told Philstar.com and Pinay Futbol in an interview on Saturday.
"I started playing on the team and I really fell in love with the game. I just wanted to play as much as possible," she said.
It wasn't long after that that the Fil-Norwegian athlete realized her potential as a football player, which eventually blossomed into playing as a professional.
"I think I was around 12 when we started getting really good coaches and training. Before it was just for fun but then I saw that I could be really good," she said.
Her path to pro football began with her hometown squad of IK Grand Bodo, where she played for a total of 11 years with stints in both the youth and seniors team.
After playing for four years in the seniors team of IK Grand Bodo, Eggesvik was given a chance to play for Charlton Athletic in England, which competed in the region's second-tier of women's football.
Having come from Norway, Eggesvik shared about the adjustments and learnings she encountered during her time with the English club.
"When I got to Charlton, the level [of play] was higher than what I was used to, and it was more physical football too," said Eggesvik.
"I learned a lot from being there and seeing a different type of football, it was very useful and interesting," she said.
The midfielder encountered some of women's football's top players like Aresnal's Vivianne Miedema, as well as top-tier squads in Manchester United, and Chelsea.
Now back in Norway and playing for a new club in KIL/Hemne since summer of this year, Eggesvik hopes to continue her growth in the sport, while also balancing her studies.
"[I] just [want] to be the best version of a football player that I can be and see how far I can take it," she said.
"I also have my studies now… I'm studying medicine," she added.
A Filipina at heart
Though based in Norway, Eggesvik is greatly close to her Filipino heritage.
Her mother, a Davao native, brings Filipino culture straight into Eggesvik's everyday life with their food, while also bringing the footballer often to the Philippines.
"I really enjoy being there. I try to be there as much as possible," she said of the Philippines.
They had planned on spending the holidays here, but was unfortunately stymied due to the pandemic.
But a year away from her Filipino culture did not waiver in any way Eggesvik's love for her heritage.
"I'm really proud, I love the Filipino culture," she said.
The midfielder also boasted of her Filipino family's undying support of her in all her undertakings.
"When I come there (the Philippines), they always ask me how is my football and they are really supportive," Eggesvik said of her Filipino family.
"They know that I like to play a lot of football, it's nice," she said.
It came as no surprise then that the 23-year-old was as open as she was to play for the Philippine women's national football team.
"I think that would be fun," Eggesvik quipped with a smile.
The national team recently climbed to a program-high ranking of World No. 65 in the FIFA World Rankings end the year on a high note after seeing no action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An asset like Eggesvik will surely bring an additional punch to the Filipina booters' already rising game on the international stage.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com