Andreas Ueland, a native of Bryne, Norway, had a standout season as a first year defender on the Virginia men’s soccer team. He helped the Cavaliers reach the NCAA College Cup for the 13th time in program history last fall. For his efforts he was a TopDrawerSoccer.com First Team Freshman All-American and was recognized on both the All-ACC (Third Team) and ACC All-Freshman Teams. He played every minute of every match of his freshman season and was a key component on a defense that surrendered 13 goals in 24 games and held a 0.53 goals against average, lowest in the country. The 15 shutouts by the Cavaliers were the most of any team in the NCAA.
Q: First off, how have you been and where are you located right now? Have you been able to return to Norway during this time? If so, when do you plan on coming back to the U.S.?
Ueland: I am doing well, I am currently in Norway. I’m living with my family in a small town called Bryne. I flew home once the coaches told us that we wouldn’t be able to train anymore, and classes would be moved online. I got a ticket back last week and will return to the United States the second week of July where I will be staying with my aunt and uncle in Washington, D.C. during my quarantine period.
Q: Take us back to you to your recruiting process. What did you know about UVA and what made you commit to play soccer at Virginia? Had you visited Charlottesville prior to committing?
Ueland: I had a teammate in Norway from the U.S. that actually worked as a college consultant. He recruits players from mostly Scandinavia. He introduced me to the whole college experience and thought it could be a good match for me. I made a highlight tape and UVA was one of the schools that was interested. I didn’t know much about Charlottesville and UVA at the time but once I went on a visit and spoke to the coaches and players, I immediately knew that this was the right school for me.
Q: You were immediately put into a starting defensive role on the team, was it a tough adjustment for you? Do you credit any of your prior experiences in soccer or someone on the team/staff that helped you the adjustment?
Ueland: I had a couple of months to get used to the playing style and my teammates before the season started which was of course was crucial and important for me. I thought adjusting to everything in the U.S. would be harder for than it actually was, being half American and having family in the U.S. made the adjustment easier. I have previous experience with the Norwegian National Team, so I am used to adjusting to new teammates and playing styles. I think that helped the whole process as well. I would give credit to Robin Afamefuna, our captain last year. He was very helpful throughout the season, especially for the new guys.
Q: As a newcomer last year, when did you get the sense that the team had the capability to reach the College Cup? Did you know early on that you were a part of a special team?
Ueland: I knew I came to a good team. I didn’t know many of the players before I arrived, however, I had spoken to a few and knew we had a strong team that could compete for trophies. After a couple trainings and games, I knew that I was a part of a special group of players.
All three of your goals last season came in really big situations, a golden goal to clinch the ACC Regular Season Championship against North Carolina and a brace in the NCAA Tournament against St. John’s. What do you remember about those goals and those two matches? Have you scored a lot of goals as a defender prior to coming to UVA?
Ueland: As you mentioned most of my goals came at a crucial time during the games and also what you would call “important games”. I was glad to get my first goal against North Carolina, it was a special moment for myself and the rest of the team. I am a pretty big guy so scoring goals off of corners and set pieces is a part of my game. I should have scored more goals than I did and hope I can score more in the season to come.
Q: What was the College Cup experience like for you? Do you think having success so quickly at UVA will help you in the future?
Ueland: The College Cup was of course a great experience for the whole team. I wish it would have ended differently, however, I think we all learned from the experience and it will help us in the future and seasons to come.
Q: Speaking of the future, you guys lose a lot of pieces from last year’s team but return a core of guys (including yourself) that have a ton of experience. How do you see the 2020 season shaping out and what are your expectations for the team this season?
Ueland: We lost a couple of players that were very important for us last season. We have brought in a lot of new young guys as well as a couple transfer students. I believe and hope we will be at least as good as we were last year. It is all about hard work and dedication. As long as every player has the hunger to do their best and help the team, I believe we can go a long way!