Sept. 21, 2001
Senior Marte Vik Edvardsen has seen it all at Florida State. The central midfielder, who came to America from Oslo, Norway, has practically guided the FSU offense since the first day she stepped on campus, but she never imagined how difficult the start of her career would be or how far the team would come after such a poor beginning in 1998.
As a freshman in 1998, Marte and the Seminoles posted a 7-11-3 record. Last season, she and FSU went to the Sweet 16. In 1998, her Seminoles went 1-6 in the ACC and were out scored 20-8 by conference foes. In 2000, they downed North Carolina and Wake Forest, advanced to the second round of the ACC Tournament and had a 10-goal improvement in goal differential in conference games. As a freshman, she was part of a team that went 2-4-1 against squads from Florida. Last year, Marte and Florida State posted an 8-0 record against in-state opponents including NCAA Tournament wins over Jacksonville and Florida. Things have definitely turned around in the last two seasons.
“It was really frustrating that first year,” said Marte. “Maren and I even discussed transferring immediately after the season ended. The team was ravaged by cliques and we were terrible collectively. We hung on and said lets give it a chance and that has paid off. Now we are ranked and things have totally turned around. We learned a lot and have worked our way from the ground up.”
The biggest change according to Marte is the coaching. She feels her 1998 team was every bit as talented as the teams she played with in 1999 and 2000 but they just never clicked on the field. There is a much higher standard being set by head coach Patrick Baker and his staff now in terms of fitness and individual and collective play. She believes that is the main reason for the Seminoles’ success since coach Baker took over the program.
“We weren’t really worried about the coaching change,” said Marte. “We knew things had to get better. We were really excited actually and the difference is obvious.”
Adjusting from one coaching staff to the next never seemed to be a problem for Marte. Her offensive numbers were good as a freshman and have improved every year since. The biggest adjustment for her was moving from a European style of play to playing a more American type of game. She adjusted to the players who surrounded her and that was just another thing she had to work through during her inaugural campaign.
“Stylistically, my freshman year was probably the biggest change for me,” said Marte. “We played such a different style in Europe so that was the hardest year for me. Soccer is more technical in Europe. They know more about the game since almost everyone has played since they were young. In America, the game is probably a little more physical and fitness is a much bigger emphasis of the American game.”
That doesn’t mean Marte believes women’s soccer is played at a lesser level in the US or that European teams are better than their American counterparts. She believes the best US teams are as good as some of the European teams she has watched.
“When I go home, I watch soccer and wonder how the team I am watching would do against Florida State and I rarely come up with an answer,” said Marte. “It is just too difficult to compare since the styles are so different. The most important thing is having soccer in your soul and that is the best part of the game for me. That is much more important than one style compared to another style.”
Another change since she arrived at Florida State is the birth of a professional women’s soccer league in the US. Although the Atlantic Coast Conference has a huge presence in the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), Florida State has yet to make its mark. Marte would like to change that.
“I want to continue playing after school,” she said. “This is just one stop of a long career hopefully. If I don’t get the chance to play in the WUSA, I will play over in Europe. I would like to try out for the WUSA after the season because I want to at least get the opportunity to measure myself against those players. I know for sure that I will keep playing soccer after my career at FSU is over. I enjoy the game and it is definitely a passion of mine. If you ask me what I will be doing in five years, for sure I will still be playing soccer.”
Marte knows that there is still some business she needs to take care during her senior season before she begins to look ahead at the next chapter in her career. Florida State’s career leader in shots and fifth-best point scorer could end up amongst FSU’s all-time leaders in as many as eight different individual categories when all is said and done.
“I am not too concerned about individual records,” said Marte. “It is more important to step up and help my team than set records. It makes me feel good if I do something well but I’d rather get the assist than the goal. I just want to be a part of a winning team. Playing a role is the only way we are going to win and there is a lot more that goes into winning than individual statistics.”
Being a leader is much more important to the senior than setting records. She knows that freshmen will look to her and she is more than willing to accept that responsibility. She believes it is vital to approach her teammates when they need it and communication is a major part of her role as captain. One of her goals in 2001 is to always be there for her teammates but she also wants to lead by example.
“One of the ways I want to lead is by playing the best soccer of my career,” she said. “I want to exceed what we did last year as a team and personally I set even higher standards for myself. I always have a high standard for myself but it is even higher this year as a senior.”
Keeping a team-oriented attitude can sometimes be difficult for a senior class that was recruited by a different coach and has seen the last two freshman classes at FSU ranked in the Top 15 nationally. That has never been a problem for Marte since her approach has always been team first.
“It is always great to get new talent on the team and it helps us all,” she said. “Better players should mean a better team and that will bring us all success. I believe we get better through competition so when all these highly-ranked recruiting classes come in I get excited. I love getting excellent players in every year.”
As good as coach Baker’s first three recruiting classes have been, Marte will always feel there is something special about her senior class. Not only has she been able to play with her twin sister for the past three years, she feels like the four members of the original 2001 senior class have a truly special bond.
“We are basically best friends and we love each other,” said Marte. “We spend so much time together and I know they will always be a part of my life even after we leave school. We have been through so much together. It is a special bond. We have all worked so hard and it’s nice to see three of the four seniors get the opportunity to start this season.”
Marte’s class has been at the center of the rebirth of Florida State soccer. A program that recorded just seven wins in 1998 peaked at No. 7 in national polls just a few weeks ago. Although it seems like the senior could look back and take some pride in how far she and her teammates have brought the program, she isn’t ready to do that just yet.
“I think we have another chapter to write this year before I can really look back at our accomplishments,” she said. “Right now I think we are as good as any team in the ACC and we should be near the top of the conference every year. We need to prove that we can play as a team and bring all of our individual talents together this year. This team really likes each other, which is a huge change from my freshman year. We love spending time together and I think that will show on the field this year.”