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Henrik Hornnaess Selected to D-3 All Star Team

Squad to Tour Brazil in May

January 18, 2013

Henrik Hornnaess was second in assists in Ohio Athletic Conference with 11. He also scored two goals.

Henrik Hornnaess was second in assists in Ohio Athletic Conference with 11. He also scored two goals.

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Upon returning from Wilmington College’s five-week Christmas break in mid-January, Henrik Hornnaess was checking through his WC email account when he noticed a message from USA Sports Tours & Events.

USA Sports’ director, Ron Smith, invited him to be part of the 2013 USA D-3 All Star team that will tour Brazil in May. Smith, who has 35 years of coaching experience, has been traveling and recruiting in Brazil for more than 20 years.

Fearing he might have received the message too late to be part of the 16-player roster, he immediately called Smith, who invited NCAA Division III players that were selected in 2012 as All-Region or All-America.

“I got real excited when I saw the email,” he recalled. “I called him and they had one spot left, a midfielder — my position! I got the last spot on the team. It’s like a job offer you can’t refuse.”

Hornnaess, a junior from Brumunddal, Norway, was a First Team All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection and, along with teammate Martin Holmquist, was named All-Great Lakes Region. Holmquist also was on Smith’s invitation list to join the All-Star team.

“I’ll be playing with some of the best players in Division III,” Hornnaess said. “That would be pretty cool to play with some guys from (OAC champion and national runner-up) Ohio Northern. That was a great achievement when they reached the finals.”

The All-Star team will meet in Orlando, Fla., for a brief training before traveling to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero May 22 through 29.

“It will be incredible going to Brazil and playing on the fields that will host World Cup matches,” he said.
Indeed, Brazil is the site for the 2013 Confederation Cup, 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

“It’s a great honor, not something I expected,” he added. “It will be an experience I will take with me my entire life.”

The opportunity puts a different spin on this winter and spring, as he now will be engaged in off-season training in preparation for playing in Brazil, not exclusively toward his return to Wilmington in August.

(LEFT) Hornnaess is in action against eventual OAC champion and national runner-up Ohio Northern.

“I have more of a focus on hitting my peak in May,” he said.

Hornnaess is no rookie when it comes to playing soccer on an international stage. His team in Norway played in Spain, Sweden and Denmark, not to mention his playing last winter while studying abroad at England’s Edge Hill University and playing with Wilmington on its tour of Spain in 2011.

“Being selected for this All-Star team is close to the top of my soccer experiences,” he said. “As far as individual recognition, this is the biggest, and it’s up there with winning the Norway Cup and a tournament in Spain.

Hornnaess doesn’t want that ride to stop either, as he prepares for his senior year at WC.

“I expect to play for a championship with Wilmington next season.”