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How the “Eco-Viking” is changing its clubs



How the "Eco-Viking" is changing its clubs

His mission is environmental protection, his stage is football. Norwegian Morten Thorsby, who switched from Sampdoria, not only brings sporting quality to Union Berlin in the Bundesliga, but also his heart project, which seems to be becoming a life’s work.

Oslo, Heerenveen, Amsterdam, Brussels and Nyon – these are not all of the cities in which Morten Thorsby was under contract. No, they are the stations of his summer tour. Some would say that it was a nice holiday trip through Europe. Well, not quite. The Norwegian was on a secular mission, so to speak.

“We are in the middle of the climate crisis, you can’t go on vacation there,” he said to UN environment chief Veronika Hunt-Safrankova.

Thorsby was nicknamed “the Greta Thunberg of football” some time ago, he didn’t contradict it, it’s more like he fills it with life. The new signing from Union Berlin founded the “We Play Green” initiative with father Espen, which is a football movement dedicated to the fight against climate change. Hence the visits in the past few weeks.

Using the power and impact of his sport is his topic, in order to make a difference in terms of environmental protection, in order to make a difference in the ongoing issue of sustainability. The midfielder also symbolically chose his shirt number for the Irons, the “2”. It represents the temperature target agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement, which the world agreed upon at the time. The Berlin Boulevard immediately titled Thorsby as an “eco-Viking”.

His commitment to the climate triggered a series of reports that he obviously found extremely impressive. “I was sad, desperate, angry and scared of climate change,” Thorsby once said. Even the end of his football career buzzed through his thoughts, but in the end he transformed the inner turmoil into the energy to start his heart project.

Thorsby caused a rethink at his former club

The English Newspaper Guardians he told his story in great detail at the end of last year. Years ago in Heerenveen Thorsby was on his own for the first time and had a lot of time to read. Then he began to reflect: Thorsby said that football inspires 3.5 billion people and that it is the greatest social phenomenon on earth.

Soccer stars have a huge impact on people and the soccer business could be a shining example.

Thorsby always cycled from the training complex to the stadium in the Netherlands and gradually infected his teammates. As if that weren’t enough, the now 26-year-old convinced the club manager and sponsors at the Dutch first division team to give greater consideration to the issue of sustainability. A solar panel was installed on the stadium roof and less meat was offered at Heerenveen’s games.

Genoa planted trees because of Thorsby

But it wasn’t always easy, Thorsby told him Guardians also. At Sampdoria Genoa in Italy, he was somewhat mockingly the “Green Boy” in the dressing room. His colleagues dubbed him the “Greta Thurnberg of football”.

Thorsby wants to inspire the people around him with his ideas, he wants to inspire them for his path, not decree his theses as truth. “I would like to have 100 percent taking small steps, because many small steps lead to big steps.”

In Italy he implemented a recycling project, the city of Genoa planted trees at his urging, he drives an electric car called “Greta”, he pleads with footballers for scheduled instead of private planes when traveling, for less meat consumption. The latest is the Green Bag project, which is about recycling footballers’ clothes.

Haaland supported Thorsby’s fundraiser

He has now received awards for his activities, he has Mats Möller Daehli from Nuremberg at his side, and national team buddy Erling Haaland also supported a fundraiser. Thorsby met the Italian Environment Minister, the Norwegian Prime Minister and spoke to Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for environmental issues at the European Commission.

In the summer he was also with the professional players’ association FifPro, and Thorsby paid a visit to UEFA. He’s obviously trying to turn bigger wheels.

Of course, Thorsby also wants to convince the Köpenickers in terms of sport. After all, Union didn’t just bring him in as an activist to collect green points in public. They see the national player primarily as a sporting reinforcement in midfield. “The better I play,” knows Thorsby, who can be used very flexibly, “the more I can do.”

Perhaps he can then convince Union President Dirk Zingler that it would be a good idea to include vegan sausages in the Alte Försterei’s match day range.