Oda Maria Bogstad looked up to Ingrid Hjelmseth as a youngster
Now they train together every day for Norway at France 2019
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By Philip O'Connor with Norway
Inspired to become a goalkeeper by Norway net-minder Ingrid Hjelmseth, Oda Maria Bogstad thought she had fulfilled a dream when she faced her idol in a domestic game. A couple of years later, she trains with her every day in the national team with the hope of eventually taking over from her. The 23-year-old is one of three keepers in the Norway squad and even if she is unlikely to see any playing time in France, she is relishing the experience of learning from Hjelmseth.
“I still remember the first day I played against her, when I was playing for Klepp. I remember thinking ‘OK, now I’m going to play against the best keeper in Norway,” Oda explained at Norway’s team hotel in Reims. “I was about 17 at the time and I thought to myself, ‘I want to be as good as her’.”
Now at Arna-Bjornar, Bogstad had previously heard the 39-year-old Hjelmseth give a speech about her career to the country’s best young goalkeepers, and that set her on her path to success between the sticks.
“I very quickly noticed how precise she is in everything, in small technical things, and that was what got me interested in the tiny details of the position,” Oda says.
After featuring for a number of Norway's youth sides, Bogstad made the step up to the senior side for Norway’s UEFA Women's EURO squad in 2017. That was when she really got to know Hjelmseth, who will more than likely win her 135th cap against Korea Republic in Norway’s final Group A game on Monday. The goalkeeping relationship has blossomed over the last two years, and Bogstad is no longer star-struck when she arrives on national duty.
“I feel it works very well now - in the beginning I had this enormous respect for her, but now I have the nerve to ask her things, and Ingrid is the type of person who very much likes to give something back. It’s great to get that feedback, and often it’s an indication that what you are doing is right,” she says.
Currently third-choice keeper behind Hjelmseth and Cecilia Fiskestrand, Bogstad is well aware that she is unlikely to see much action in France, but she still has to remain mentally sharp and ready to contribute both in training and at game time. Like every player in the squad, she hopes to prove her value to the coaching staff and eventually make the No1 shirt her own.
“When the day comes, you want to play because of what you've done, not because someone else has been injured,” she says.
After making her way through the national team ranks and switching clubs in recent years, Bogstad hopes to make a move abroad soon, and after her time with the Norway squad, she knows who to call for advice.
“I’ve gotten to know Ingrid really well and now we talk about normal things other than football too," she says. "We’ll see how it goes, but it would be great if one day I can play a senior international and talk to her about it so she can teach me something. I hope that happens."