Alexander Sørloth (24) is the best example of how versatility in sports can ensure a great football career.
These days, Sørloth is preparing for his most important so far of the 25 A-national matches he has played. There have been eight goals in 24 games, before Serbia is the opponent at Ullevaal on Thursday. He has become increasingly valuable to national team manager Lars Lagerbäck, and he has had a tremendous development on the football field in the last five years.
But probably the cheerful Trøndelag man, with sports parents, could have come just as far on both the skating and handball courts.
Alexander Sørloth focused on three more sports in his teens. When he joined the betting team for Rosenborg, as a 15-year-old, he was told that he had to make a choice.
It was football. But it was not that simple. Alexander Sørloth borrowed skates from the neighboring boy Marius Mo, and after a visit to the Viking ship in Hamar, young Sørloth was “caught” by the skates. As a 12-year-old, he participated in an “American selection” in Tønsberg. He ran his best race under pressure, and Sørloth was among the two best in his year class. Thus, he was taken out to the national skating competition at the famous Thialf in Heerenveen, the Netherlands.
At the age of 12, Alexander Sørloth ran a strong 42.5 in the 500 meters.
Then you have talent.
Alexander Sørloth took with him a lot from his years on the ice rink, even though he quit as a 13-year-old, not least the balance you have to have to get up to speed on the ice rink. Anyone who has skated a bit knows how tricky it is to “go turns”. But for young Sørloth, this was a challenge he enjoyed.
He did not give up until he had the technique and the balance.
It has followed him for the rest of his 24-year-old life – mastering, not giving up, being ambitious.
But the talent was perhaps greater in handball. Both father Gøran and mother Hildegunn, former handball players both, mourned a little when Alexander stopped playing handball as a 15-year-old – just when he was old enough to play for the national team.
Alexander Sørloth played against Sander Sagosen (they were born the same year), recently named the world’s best handball player. Those who saw both play think they were about as good, Alexander was at circuit team gatherings. The competition was healthy. Good players lift other players – if they want enough.