Espen Baardsen

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Espen Baardsen
Personal information
Full nameEspen Baardsen
Date of birth (1977-12-07) 7 December 1977 (age 43)
Place of birth San Rafael, United States
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
1995–1996 San Francisco United All Blacks
Senior career*
1996–2000 Tottenham Hotspur 23 (0)
2000–2002 Watford 41 (0)
2002–2003 Everton 1 (0)
National team
1998–2000 Norway 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 26 November 2007
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 26 November 2007

Espen Baardsen (born 7 December 1977 in San Rafael, California, USA) is a former footballer. He played as a goalkeeper.


Born in the United States to Norwegian parents, he was selected for the USA under-18 national team before switching his international eligibility to Norway because of his dual nationality.

Club career

In 1995 Baardsen was spotted by English team Tottenham Hotspur while he was playing for the San Francisco United All Blacks of the USISL. [1] Tottenham offered him a contract. He made his debut for the team in the spring of 1997 against Liverpool at Anfield. Despite good performances, including a 0–0 draw away to rivals Arsenal, he was unable to become the team's first-choice keeper, but finished his time at the North London club with a League Cup winners medal from 1999. Spurs played eight matches en route to winning the cup [2] and Baardsen started three of those matches (Ian Walker started four and Hans Segers one). [3]

In 2000 Baardsen, seeking first-team football, signed for Watford for a fee of £1.25 million. However, towards the end of the 2000–01 season he lost his place in the team to veteran Alec Chamberlain. Although he returned to the side under new manager Gianluca Vialli in 2001–02, and saved a Mark Robins penalty to help his team beat Rotherham United 3-2 in an early season game, [4] he was again displaced by Chamberlain.

In 2002, he had a short spell at Everton. In his sole game for the club he conceded 4 goals in a 4–3 loss to his former club Tottenham Hotspur. [5]

Claiming to have lost interest in the game, Baardsen retired from football aged only 25. [6]

International career

At international level, Baardsen played more than 20 matches for the Norwegian under-21 team, and also won four caps for the senior side. Baardsen won a bronze medal in the 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship in Romania, during which he received the "Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament" award. He made his debut for Norway in a September 1998 European Championship qualifying match against Latvia. Before that match, he was already part of Norway's 1998 World Cup squad as third-choice goalkeeper, despite the fact that he had never lived in Norway in his entire life. His last international match was a friendly against Iceland in January 2000.

Personal life

After retiring, Baardsen went travelling around the world for a year, before studying for a degree at the Open University. [6] He is currently a partner and fund manager for a London-based asset management company. He is a frequent guest on the business television network CNBC. [7]


Tottenham Hotspur

Career statistics

(C.S. = Clean sheets) (Con. = Conceded)

ClubSeasonLeagueLeagueFA CupLeague CupTotal
Tottenham Hotspur 1996–97 Premier League 204000000204
1997–98 931030500012315
1998–99 1251600030415520
1999–2000 000000000000
Watford 2000–01 First Division 2754500022029545
2001–02 1422500031317328
Everton (loan) 2002–03 Premier League 104000000104
Career total65151043058377618116

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  1. Everton Goalkeepers
  2. "Season 1998-1999". Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  3. "Games played by Espen Baardsen in 1998/1999". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  4. "Watford 3-2 Rotherham". BBC. 18 August 2001. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. "Keane inspires Tottenham". BBC Sport. 12 January 2003. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  6. 1 2 Butler, Michael. "The Joy of Six: footballers who voluntarily retired in their 20s". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  7. Chris Bevan, Were you there...?, BBC Sport, 15 February 2007, accessed 18 February 2007