Derek Mann -N- the Players Corner (Oslo Vikings)
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I would describe myself as an easy going, laid back kind of guy. But at the same time I also love to compete. It’s something I have done my whole life and it’s something I will continue to do I just cant help it. Sports have been a huge part of my life since I was born. Almost all of my friends I have I met through playing hockey or football.
I attended South Delta Senior Secondary school in Tsawwassen, British Columbia ( about 30 minutes outside Vancouver Canada. Then moved to Kelowna British Columbia (about 4 hours from Vancouver too play junior football for the Okanagan Sun (Canadian junior football league). I lived there for 5 years from when I was 19 till 23. Then I attended the University of Ottawa In Ottawa, Ontario Canada for 1 year of University football. Playing for the Vikings this year will be my 20th season of football. I started playing when I was 5 and my dad was my head coach.
How did you come in contact with the vikings organisation?
I came in contact with the Vikings through a website called “europlayers.com”, where players from all across the world set up profiles and market themselves to come to Europe and play football. A man named Roger Kelly from Vancouver actually set up the website and put in a good word for me with a bunch of teams in Europe. Then coach Marques contacted me through the website and as they say the rest is history.
What do you think of Norway so far and football around it?
I have absolutely loved my time here in Oslo. Everyone in the organization has been very welcoming and helpful with everything. The club really takes you in and truly makes you a part of the Vikings family. All the board members, coaches and players have been wonderful at making my time here very enjoyable, it truly is a classy organization and would recommend it to any players out there. The people of Oslo and Norway as a whole have been very friendly and nice and I must say there is no shortage of beautiful women in this country! The Norwegian culture is very similar to Canadians; very nice happy people, who don’t have to many worries.
The skill level of football in general is a bit different from Canada, but it’s no different then the skill level of football with Canada compared to the United States. It has a large part in the age kids start to play football in North America. Also with the massive support the sport gets by the general public. Saying that; I have been really impressed by the skill level of the players thus far. I have only had the opportunity to take part in just a few practices but there is very little difference on how things are operated on a daily practice perspective. Coach Marques and the rest of the coaching staff have tones of experience when it comes to football, they are really putting in a lot of work and effort to make the players as good as they can be. The Vikings organization is growing in numbers and skill and only good things can come from that in the future! I am very happy with the decision I made to come live and play here for a great organization like the Oslo Vikings.
What have you been up to since you last put on a helmet?
Since my season ended in December, I had a very short off season compared to years in the past. I was training in the gym and on the field throwing a lot because I knew that I really wanted to come out to Europe and help coach and play for a team. I had an opportunity to come home and live with and spend some time with my mom, which I really enjoyed after living on my own and far away from home for 6 years. My moms means a lot to me and it was awesome to get a chance to actually see her and not just talk to her on the phone.
Predictions and goals on behalf on the team?
I feel like the organization should have a very strong season, starting with the seniors and going all the way down to the U-14. Everyone has been putting a lot of time and work into getting their bodies ready for the season and also learning more about the game of football. It’s always hard to repeat as champions because now every team is really gunning for you every time you step out on that field. But now the guys know what it takes to win and I just hope I can be a big part in helping the organization hoist that championship trophy again this year.
Your goals for 2012?
My goals for this season are: to help out as much as I can on and off the field to help the Vikings grow on the field and in the community. You can never get enough support from your local fans and community and I feel if we keep getting better on the field, we will get more support off the field. I hope I can help the growth of the young kids in the organization with football and life, because a lot of skills you learn in football carrying over in your life.