MLS Draft pick, A10 standout, Norway International: Jonas Fjeldberg’s soccer journey is just getting started

During his career so far at UD, Jonas Fjeldberg has scored 17 goals and assisted 17 more. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Luc Almeda
Sports Staff Writer

Jonas Fjeldberg, one of college soccer’s shiftiest dribblers and most instinctual attackers, is preparing for one final season at UD. After that, he will begin his next adventure; a career in MLS. 

Fjeldberg, a senior, arrived at UD in 2017. His path to becoming a Flyer was atypical.

He grew up in Norway and played professionally for his home club of Ullensaker/Kisa IL. Fjeldberg has been playing at a high level since he was a kid.

“My dad was my coach, so I always felt like I had to do a little extra,” Fjeldberg said. He knew he was talented, but it wasn’t until high school when Fjeldberg knew he had something special.

“As soon as I got my first national team call-up, I thought it was something I could make a living out of.” The Norwegian has 17 international youth caps for Norway’s U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 teams.

For Fjeldberg, soccer has always provided opportunities for the taking. Still, his young career has provided some tough decisions. 

In 2017, when deciding where he wanted his next step in life to take him, he took a leap of faith. 

“I was injured a lot, and I could feel myself start to fall out of love with the game,” Fjeldberg said. He was at a crossroads; try to continue with his team in Norway, or seek out a new chance.

“I got a message on facebook from an assistant coach at UD. I decided just to take the risk, and if I didn’t like it, I’ll leave after Christmas.” 

Fjeldberg decided to depart Norway to come to the US and enroll at the University of Dayton.

“Of course I loved it from day one,” Fjeldberg said. He was quickly at peace with his decision. 

Dayton provided Fjeldberg an opportunity that was hard to pass up. He would still be able to play soccer, but the combination of sports and education was huge, especially since he didn’t know if soccer would be in his future for many more years.

That notion quickly changed.

“Dayton sparked my love for the game back, they made me better at what I was already good at,” Fjeldberg said. “They made me more confident, I was able to improve my physical abilities and I’ve gotten stronger.”

Fjeldberg was able to adapt to the fast-paced style of college soccer almost seamlessly. Now, he thrives in it.

“Back home I played with old guys, senior pros. They’re like grown men. Over here the game is way quicker. It’s not as reliant on pure physical power, it’s more ball on the ground and running. Over there it’s the brutes that dominate.”

The style of soccer that Fjeldberg plays is a perfect match for the competition he is up against. He flourishes in a creative position, one where he can roam freely and use his vision and imagination.

“I’m way better with the ball at my feet than without. I’m really comfortable with that, setting up chances for other people and setting up chances for myself.”

Fjeldberg has proven this in his three years as a Dayton Flyer, and he has steadily dug deeper in his bag each year. He has career totals of 17 goals and 17 assists, but in his junior year alone, he scored 11 times and dished out nine assists. Those tallies were worthy of making him the A10 Offensive Player of the Year, Dayton’s MVP, and earned him a spot on the A10 first team.

With the team’s season being moved from fall to spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the responsibility has been on Fjeldberg to continue to improve. It hasn’t been easy, though, as his family is halfway across the world.

“I didn’t want to risk going back to Norway and potentially not being able to come back for my senior year,” Fjeldberg said. “It was a really rough period. I tried to keep myself busy.”

Now, with his senior campaign set to begin, Fjeldberg has something else to look forward to – taking on the MLS. 

Fjeldberg was the 54th pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, chosen by FC Cincinnati. The franchise is only two years old, and Fjeldberg is excited to be a part of the new organization. It also doesn’t hurt that he will be in semi-familiar territory.

“It’s like an hour away from here, that’s perfect. I like the climate, being from Norway I’m used to cold winters and short summers. I’ve been to Cinci a couple times and I really like the city,” Fjeldberg said. 

He didn’t think much of the draft just days prior, but now Fjeldberg is awaiting the start of his American professional career. 

“Like a week before, Coach Currier just told me, ‘Hey, you’re eligible for the draft,’ but i thought nothing of it,” Fjeldberg said. “He said there was interest from a few teams. I thought nothing of it, I watched the first round and didn’t get picked, but I didn’t think I would anyways.”

After the first round ended, he headed into his room to go to a Zoom class. 

“I had to go to class so I stopped watching, but in class I heard my roommates shouting my name and freaking out.” Fjeldberg was drafted in the second round, while at his desk in a house on Lowes Street. 

Fjeldberg’s soccer journey has been momentous thus far, but it’s far from over.

“Like I said, I was falling out of love with the game. I was aiming at changing scenery, thinking about regaining my love for the game. I got that love back, and as time went on I thought, ‘maybe I’ll have a shot at this’. But I never thought it would work out the way it has.”

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