Coincidences are often deciding what is happening around us. That Klepp was going to play with an American player in goal this season is one of these. A tough season, a lot of adversity, and a very tough period for everyone has left its mark on both the team and the always-happy Adelaide Gay. We had a chat with the 168 cm tall goalkeeper.
The ticket to the USA was ordered, and a long season was coming to an end. Gay was finally going to meet her family back home again after ten months in Norway. Covid-19 stopped it, and the last game was suspended until 6. December. This means that most foreign players and Gay have to stay in Norway longer than expected. One team had to go in quarantine, and since the Toppserien records even, every game except one had to be delayed. Players with Gay included have been annoyed by this
Age: 31 years
Born: 3. November 1989
Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey – USA
Club: Klepp IL
Former clubs: Pali Blues, Portland Thorns, Washington Spirit, Kvarnsvedens, IBV og Seattle Reign
Who is Adelaide Gay?
Things got serious with football for Adelaide when she started at College like many American girls do. She began at Yale University in 2009 before she went to the University of North Caroline the year after. In her College career, she won the NCAA Championship once.
Adelaide Gay has with her 31 years had many years in her career. The senior career started for Pali Blues, a club that lived for a short period between 2008 and 2014. In this time, she won the W-League Championship in 2009. She then went on to Portland Thorns FC, where she had a stint without games before she was waived off to Washington Spirit.
Her Scandinavian journey started in 2015 when Gay transferred to Kvarnsvedens IK in Sweden. She played every single minute of the team’s 26 league games. She had a clean sheet in 16 of the games. Her team won the league and promoted to Damallsvenskan. She played 43 games for them in total. In 2017 she moved to Iceland, IBV. She and her team won the Icelandic women’s cup in 2017. I 2018, she went back to the US and signed for Seattle Reign. In 2018 she joined the Portland Thorns. Later in 2018, she went back to Sweden again and joined her former club Kvarnsveden.
Destination: Klepp, Norway
Before this season, Adelaide Gay didn’t know where she was going to play football. After good talks about Ollie Harder and with the knowledge of other players in the club. Most known for her was the former Klepp keeper Lindsay Harris. She chose to play for Klepp IL. As known did Ollie Harder leave the club in favor of joining Sandes Ulf before the season, but that didn’t change the decision for Gay.
– Honestly, I.. first of all, I know the former goalkeeper Lindsay Harris very well, and I know Havana Solaun and Amanda Frisbee. I talked to those three before I came here, and they just said how great it was. I didn’t hear anything wrong about Klepp, so I was like, wow – this sounds like a very, very important place.
– I reached out to Ollie, but he wasn’t there anymore, but he told me about the new coach and helped me get in touch with him.
In her apartment in Klepp, Gay hasn’t been alone. She has been a roommate with Nikki Stanton. It is easy to see Gay light up when we mention Nikki.
– Nikki is fantastic. She is the best roommate I have had. She brightens your day and makes it the best possible. Every day she comes to me and says, “good morning.” It is fantastic to have someone like that around you.
When the season is coming to an end, foreign players will leave the country to go back home. Nikki left, and Gay is now alone in her apartment.
– You feel it when someone like her leaves. It gets empty. When someone is so good at making your day better – leaves, it hurts.
The season seen from a goalie’s perspective
It has been a season a bit unusual from the last seasons for Klepp. Already after the first game against Kolbotn, where the game ended in a draw. Players started to question themselves. Trough a tough period for every team in the Toppserien where the unsureness has been in the driver seat, Klepp has struggled very much to get to a safe position on the table.
The upsides and downsides
Being a goalkeeper can be a very ungrateful thing. That is something Adelaide Gay has felt many times. Everything from guilt when conceding goals to picking seven balls out of the net against Vålerenga. When questioned about what she can remember as the worst happening in Toppserien this season, she says;
– The worst has to be the Vålerenga game. Not only did we concede a lot of goals, but we were unable to produce anything. Letting goals past you is one of the worst things about being a keeper. When you pick seven balls out of your net, you get in survival mode mentally. “Do not let one more in,” “not one more.” You want it all to end.
When asked what her best memory is, Gay says;
– My best memory this season has to be from the home game against LSK Kvinner. I let a bad goal go in, and we lost the game. I felt it was all my fault. It is always challenging, but when the whole team comes to me after the game, hugs me, and tells me that it’s okay. It is so fantastic. It is the best for me this season, even though I would much rather have stopped the shot.
Her contract is running out after this season, and the American girl does not know where she will play next season. She has not received any offer from Klepp about their thoughts about the keeper role next season.
– To be honest, I don’t know. If you have asked me some weeks ago, I would probably have told you I wanted to stay. Now, however, I don’t know.
– They haven’t reached out to me with a new contract offer yet.
– It has been a tough time, and the club is facing some issues right now. It is a challenging process, but I believe the club’s staff can fix it and put Klepp back on track. Everything is being done professionally. The foundation of the club is really good and strong, so I have no doubts about it.
– I have seen around for other places to keep my options open, I have no intention to go back to the US now, so I see myself somewhere in Europe.
– Of course, you can’t take anything for granted. What’s comes around, goes around. With the Covid-19 and other things, you have no idea what’s coming. I have options, and then we will see what happens.
Adelaide Gay about the keeper role
That she was supposed to be a goalkeeper was very clear from the beginning. With a dad witch was a keeper, it was almost written in the starts that she was going to be a goalkeeper.
– My dad was a goalkeeper, which is probably the biggest reason I wanted to stay in goal. If I knew then how short I would become, I would probably want another position, haha.
– I was about 8-9 years old when I decided to be a goalkeeper. I played as an outfield player too, but it was a goalkeeper I wanted to be.
“I still feel that it is the most fun position on the pitch. We are the ones witch has more fun in practice.”Adelaide Gay
– I still feel that it is the most fun position on the pitch. We are the ones witch has more fun in practice. It is some of the most fun things this season; Nikki is coming home and is sad because the practice was terrible. I get home happy and glad that I had a great practice because I have been with the other keepers.
There are close to none positions on the field witch has developed its role more than the keeper position. On the question if she has felt that others have seen “down on her” as she wanted to stay in goal, Gay says;
– The keeper position has developed a lot. From being a position where everyone has to be once because the team needs a goalkeeper. To now being a position where players fight to get a chance in goal.
– I feel the goalkeepers that reach the top-level are players with a desire to be goalkeepers from they were young. However, we know that players who want to play out on the field must play in goal. It can be because of their athletism, their height, or something like that. A coach can see that a player fits the role of being a goalkeeper.
– I do feel that goalkeepers are late bloomers because they have to teach so much—so many different skills. I do believe it takes time. As a midfielder, you get like, 50-100 touches on the ball in a game. As a goalkeeper, you can get like 5-10 touches. I believe it takes much more time for a goalkeeper to get the same amount of routine as outfield players.
The goalkeeper role is demanding when it comes to the technical quality but the mentality might be even tougher.
– I have many years of experience now, but it is sometimes challenging, especially when you are a professional. I don’t think we have the most pressure on us, but of course, it is tough when you read about the negatives. As a keeper, you usually don’t get mentioned unless you have done something terrible. It is sporadic to read about a brilliant goalkeeper performance.
– I want to thank Geir Håkon Valland. He is a very confident person. He is always “on” to help me and support me in both good moments and bad moments. He helps me to get through and upwards to the next situation or the next game.
– I have a wish that I can be happy with my total performance after the season.
– I do always work on getting better, even at the age of 27. I feel it is essential to work on getting better every day. I work on the technical skills as keeper technics, and I work on keeping the body in the best possible shape by training jumping and stuff like that.
– To be honest, my goal is always to kill the opponent’s attacks before they can “reach me.” I told Nick (coach) before the season, if Klepp wants to stay compact, lay low, and defend the goal, I am not the right goalkeeper for you because of my height.
With her 168 centimeters, Adelaide Gay is one of the shortest goalkeepers in the league. That is something she is very aware of and she tries to play to her strengths of reading the game and position herself well.
– I prefer that we stay high on the pitch. I would much rather have balls thrown in behind our defense witch I can run out against, than the opponent shooting from far away or getting the opportunity to make a lot of crosses.
Outside of the football pitch, Adelaide Gay has started a new brand with another footballer. They have decided to make a notebook for football players and coaches. The journey started four years ago. It has become very successful for Gay, and even with a challenging 2020, things have looked suitable for the company.
– It all started with me sitting there in need of a book. We talked a bit about that I liked to use video to develop myself. I felt the need to write things down but didn’t have an excellent book to do it in. When I am at home, I coach younger players and need a book to keep drills and other information. Often I took myself in trying to write a pitch down in the book, and with my OCD, it got ugly, haha. So I decided that I needed a book with pitch and note lines in it from before.
– I started to write to different companies to ask if they had something like it, but none had. Then one of the companies said they would help us deliver if we made it ourselves. That’s how Duktigbrand started.
– Even with the Covid-19 this year, things have been great for us.
The differences between USA and Norway
There is no doubt that football (soccer) has developed in the United States. More publicity around MLS(the men’s league) and more people are watching games over the seas now than before. One page in the football history of the USA has, however, always been in bold letters. The women’s national team. The nation with four WC titles and four Olympic golds is very well known all over the world. Top players like Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe have made more women football fans than men’s football fans abroad. Faced with the question about the differences between growing up as a youth player in the USA and Norway, Gay says;
– It is a tough question since I don’t know how it is to grow up here. However, something I can say about Norway is that here at Klepp, youth players (16-19) are practicing with the first team. Even they don’t play for us. They can feel the quality and develop better. It makes it easier to feel like you have a chance to get up to the primary team.
– In the USA, when I grew up, the women league was very inconsistent. It started, stopped, and it was tough to join in. Now we see that the women league has been active for eight years and still running. That is excellent news because younger girls can look for clubs they want to join. I always feel it is hard in the USA. There are just nine teams witch makes it tough to reach the best league.
– On a personal level, since I am a goalkeeper – there will be only 18 spots to fight for in the USA. This means that it is incredibly tough to get a place in one of the teams. Things are going forward in the USA, and that is good. It is a long road, but things look better now. Collage is excellent in keeping players active for longer.
Football is the main sport, even in the USA
In Norway, it is mainly football and handball that takes the central portion of players. In the USA, many people are playing football (soccer), American football, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, skates, and more.
– I will say that football is the biggest sport over here, especially for the younger players. All the younger players play football. I can talk to me, and I remember back to the world cup in 1999. It was huge in the USA. We all got new favorite players we looked up at then. Now the younger players look up to players like Alex Morgan and Hope Solo. I do believe that it is essential to get even better players from the United States.
We can’t have an interview with an American girl without talking about the national team.
– In the USA, they are almost famous. Not just football famous but like big stars. This is something we want to look at closer at. For example, when I coach younger girls – they know who is on the national team, but they don’t know who is on their top division’s local club. I want those younger players to get to know their local stars as well as the national stars. I do believe that is the next big step for football in the USA.
We do appreciate that players join Norwegian teams from abroad and adding color to our great league. We want to thank Adelaide Gay for a great chat and wish her all the best in her career next steps. We hope that she wants to stay in Norway for another year, but we wish her all the best wherever she moves next.
Under you can watch more highlights from her season with Klepp in the Toppserien 2020.