By World Cup’s end, Mikkel Diskerud could be one of the most popular American soccer stars. With long flowing locks, boy-next-door looks, and a modest and unassuming disposition, Mix wins you over almost instantly. Besides that, he could be one of USA’s main offensive threats off the bench for this World Cup. On the other hand, he is, at least by jersey number, filling the shoes of the greatest American soccer player ever. Diskerud will be wearing the fabled number 10 on his U.S. shirt - Landon Donovan’s number. Will his play make us forget 2010′s World Cup hero? Let’s learn a little about Mix.
At just 15, Mix started his youth career at Norwegian club Stabek, a middling squad in Norway’s top flight league, the Tippeligaen. After making the senior team in 2008, Diskerud would become a starting midfielder in 2010. Over 81 appearances with Stabek, Mix had proved he was talented enough to move to the Tippeligaen’s top team, Rosenborg, in 2012. There he would start among Norway’s best club players, although he was thisclose to moving to MLS’ Portland Timbers before signing an extension with Rosenborg. Could a post-World Cup MLS transfer be in his future?
Since he was born in Oslo, Norway, you may be confused how he plays for the United States. Well, his mother is from Arizona, so Mix has dual citizenship. The 23-year-old played for Norway’s youth national teams before becoming cap-tied to the U.S. last summer. Clearly he still feels Norwegian pride, but knows that his chance for international success lies with the USMNT. Mix played a few games for USA’s youth squads before making his senior team debut in 2010 when he was brought in by former coach Bob Bradley. However, it wasn’t until the 2013 Gold Cup and the World Cup qualifying cycle that Mix truly announced himself to United States fans.
With impeccable touch and great pace, Mix is a creative playmaker. This makes him a perfect super sub when the U.S. team needs instant offense. During the pre-World Cup Sendoff Series, Mix came in during all three friendlies and made an impact almost immediately. His ability to break down the defense with a perfectly timed pass is arguably only second to Michael Bradley on this team. This goal vs. Mexico last September in World Cup qualifying is a perfect example of his awesome combination of touch and passing.
When Jurgen Klinsmann took the USMNT reins in 2011, some began to think Diskerud’s style of play would adapt well with Klinsmann’s attack-minded philosophy. This didn’t really happen until last summer, when Diskerud became a semi-mainstay in the USA lineup. The issue was – and still is – that Mix plays mostly the same position as USA’s best two outfield players, Clint Dempsey and Bradley. Those two will not leave the field in Brazil this summer, but in the three friendlies, Klinsmann found a space for Mix to come in for another midfielder – like Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, or Graham Zusi. If we are down in the second half at any point during the World Cup, expect Mix to start warming up.
Did You Know?
- He loved to run around the house when he was little, so his mother called him her “little mixmaster”, which was shortened to Mix.
- Apparently he’s a New York Yankees fan.
- He kind of looks like Australian musician Gotye.
- His hair inspires incredible videos, set to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper”.