Americans in Tippeligaen: Meet Ethan Horvath, goalkeeper for Molde

Photo: Molde FK Molde’s American goalkeeper defends his new territory.

Photo: Molde FK
Molde’s American goalkeeper defends his new territory.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

What is like to be a young, American athlete competing and living in Norway? To find out, I interviewed Ethan Horvath, who plays for the Norwegian Tippeligaen soccer club Molde FK. The 20-year-old goalkeeper hails from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and signed with Molde in 2013 at the age of 16.

Molly Jones: How did it feel to sign the contract with Molde FK?

Ethan Horvath: When I signed my contract with Molde FK, there was a real feeling of excitement and satisfaction knowing that all of my hard work, commitment, and sacrifices were starting to pay off. It was surreal to know that Ole Gunnar wanted me to be a part of his team and had the confidence in me to sign me.

MJ: What was it like to join the club?

EH: When I came to Molde FK, I knew they were having a great deal of success and that the expectations to perform were going to be high. Knowing that they used a foreign player spot on the roster to sign me just made me more focused and wanting to work that much harder.

MJ: What’s been your favorite experience as goalkeeper for Molde?

EH: I have had so many great experiences here already that I don’t think I can pick one favorite. From getting my first minutes with the first team, to officially taking over as the #1 and starting my first game, to playing in Champions League Qualifying, to what we have done in Europa League, I think it is impossible to narrow it down. I just take all the opportunities and experiences one at a time and try to use them as a chance for me to continue to grow and develop as a keeper.

Photo: Molde FK Ethan Horvath (center) shows his excitement.

Photo: Molde FK
Ethan Horvath (center) shows his excitement.

MJ: What do you enjoy about Norway?

EH: Living in Norway is really nice with the mountains and fjords. Being from Colorado, it’s nice to be able to still see mountains every day. I enjoy living in Molde because it is a small town and there are not a lot of distractions. It is all about focusing on training and playing so that I can continue to improve and grow as a professional. I also like that the town is really into the football club. Game days are a big deal, and it is cool to see the flags and banners around town to support us when we play.

MJ: Molde earned a spot in the final 32 of the Europa League this year. How did it feel to be a part of this excitement?

EH: I don’t think there are enough words to describe what the Europa League experience has been like. First off, to be able to play against clubs like Fenerbahçe, Ajax, and Celtic is like a dream come true. Growing up playing soccer in the backyard, pretending to play in games like these is one thing, but actually doing it has been incredible. I have really tried to take each game one at a time and relish the experience. At the same time, I think it has been important to use these games as an opportunity to learn and grow as a keeper. Coach Hartis used to tell me that I need to put as many experiences in my mental locker as I can, so I can draw on them in the future. I can honestly say that all of these games have been put into a special locker of their own, and it is getting fuller every day.

MJ: At only 20 years old, you still have many years of your soccer career ahead of you. What are your goals?

EH: As a player I have always tried to have short-term and long-term goals. For me right now, I know that focusing on the present is what will help me achieve what I want in the future. I think it is important for me to continue to work hard and train at the highest level possible. I want to continue to mature and develop technically, as well as tactically and personally. Being a young goalkeeper, it is also important for me to play with composure and confidence so that the players, coaches, and scouts see that I am capable and trustworthy. I would really like for us to start out the season strong in league play and establish ourselves as a front runner from the beginning. In the long term, I am hoping that what I am doing today will lead to an opportunity with another club in a bigger league in Europe. I would also like to continue to have opportunities with U.S. Soccer. It is always an honor and privilege to play for my country. Getting the opportunity to represent the U.S. in World Cup qualifying and a World Cup would be another dream come true.

This article originally appeared in the March 18, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.