Mads Stokkelien turned down Stabæk for Cosmos move


Several weeks ago, new Stabæk boss Bob Bradley sat down with star striker Mads Stokkelien to discuss a contract renewal with the club.

Both sides were excited for a bright future together — until the New York Cosmos came a-calling.

Assistant coach Alecko Eskandarian was first to reach out to Stokkelien about joining the club. Shortly there after, team coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese held “several” conversations with the 23-year-old striker about a potential move.

Before Bradley’s offer could even be considered, Stokkelien found himself in a New York state of mind.

“Of course, I heard of the Cosmos and I was interested in the first moment,” he explained. “It’s a club that is famous all over the world and a lot of people in Norway have heard about the club because Pele and [Franz] Beckenbauer played there in the 80’s. I was a bit surprised that they reached out to Norway to get a player.

“I was so convinced that I said OK and came to New York last week and that was when I signed.”

Without question, Stokkelien is a big loss for Bradley’s side. The Norwegian dynamo finished second in the Adeccoligaen’s Golden Boot race, leading Stabæk’s ascension to the Tippeligaen. He also has a strong resume of work, featuring in the Norwegian U-18, U-19 and U-21 national teams.

In New York, Stokkelien will find familiar company. Both he and Hunter Freeman played for IK Start over a pair of seasons in the Norwegian first division. “I spoke to Hunter and he told me all good things about the club and said ‘you just have to come,'” recounted the young striker. “I trust Hunter and I met him last week. That was nice to see him and talk to him about the club, and to learn more about the Cosmos.”

A self-described “hard working striker,” Stokkelien hopes to make an immediate impact with the club. “I’m a target striker so I like to get crosses in from the wingers to use my finishing skills,” he explained. “[New York] is a place I can continue developing which is important to me and a club I can fit in where fortunately I can play my best game.”

There is no set timeline for Stokkelien’s arrival as he is currently working to get his visa in order. Still, his first taste of the club’s operations have him hungry to begin life Stateside.

“I met some of the staff and players last week,” he said. “I got a really good impression of the club. I am impressed how far they have come in such a short time, how professional everything is and I know for a fact the team has many good players.”

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