After a standout performance at SoccerViza’s first winter transfer window combine in November, Aurelien Norest, 23, accepted a contract offer from Icelandic club Vestri this week.
The former FC London player and Oklahoma City Energy trialist began his pursuit of professional soccer with Nike’s ‘The Chance’ program in France, which, although not leading to the Nike Academy, did lead to a scholarship to American NAIA school MidAmerica Nazarene University, where he racked up honors for his defensive play.
“It feels great,” Norest, who goes by the moniker Frenchie with teammates, told SoccerViza.
“I would say after all the hard work that’s been put in, after all the trials, all the pre-season camps, it’s something that’s satisfying. It feels good, I’m very happy to be here. It’s nice to see a good result from a lot of hard work, and I appreciate SoccerViza for helping get to where I am.”
In signing with Vestri, Norest joins longtime friend, PDL teammate, and SoccerViza attendee James Pucci, as well as fellow SoccerViza players Brodie Steigerwald and Matt Nigro.
“It’s been a very good experience so far. It’s a very professional atmosphere, everything from the locker room to the practices. It’s very good. It’s been a very good experience.”
In signing his first European contract, Norest is looking forward to his improvement as a player on the professional level, and to using his previous experiences to help be a leader on the team, which has a young average age of 21.
The close-knit nature of the team is something that he has already noticed and grown into after just two weeks the club, and is something that he looks forward to seeing the chemistry continue to grow stronger as the season opener approaches on May 7.
“With the team, I’m looking forward to the chemistry and family atmosphere to continue to grow. On the field and off the field, it’s very cohesive. We can really feel the brotherhood, where we play for each other and fight for each other. We are coming together as a unit very well.”
Playing in Iceland wasn’t really something that Norest had considered prior to working with SoccerViza, but in the end, it’s a result that he’s happy for, and is looking forward to using the platform to continue developing and to build the beginning of the successful European career.
“Even if I thought about this opportunity twice, I am now convinced it’s the right move to make for my career. The experience in the new culture, and the relationships that are going to be made this season… they’re things that will help me a lot as a player and as a person. Thanks to SoccerViza for working hard and helping me achieve my goals.”
Vestri’s season begins in four weeks in a home game against KF. You can follow along with the season via SoccerViza’s social media.