PORTIMAO, Portugal (Reuters) – A year ago Norway playmaker Guro Reiten was struggling to survive on her soccer earnings despite playing for one of her country’s top clubs, but 12 months on she is starring for Chelsea and earning a full-time wage in England.

Well-known for her love of her small hometown of Sunndalsora, the 25-year-old took her cultured left foot to England’s capital after last year’s World Cup in France to further her footballing ambitions, and has already won the Continental Cup with Chelsea.

“That is why I came to England, it’s been great to have such a fantastic start,” she told Reuters in an interview at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

In Norway, Reiten was studying and occasionally working part-time while playing for LSK Kvinner.

She left that life behind to join the full-time professional set-up at Chelsea, where she is surrounded by internationals such as Bethany England and Australia’s Sam Kerr, as well as a number of fellow Scandinavians.

“It’s different at Chelsea. It’s fun to achieve the dream of being a professional footballer and to not have any worries outside of football, and to only focus on what happens on the pitch,” she explained.

“I love it. It’s been a dream, and it’s great to have everything available. Everything is in place so that the team and I can be as good as possible. That’s what we wish for, and it’s fantastic to have it.”

Chelsea are currently in second place in the fully-professional FA Women’s Super League, a point behind Manchester City with a game in hand.

“There is a little more pressure and some higher expectations – demands are set based on the circumstances, obviously, but that’s how we want it. We want to be the best we can be,” Reiten says.

Reiten won three league titles in three years at LSK. She had already signed for Chelsea when she arrived at the World Cup in France, and with more time to train in the gym and on the pitch, she is embracing the more physical surroundings of the English game.

“It’s a little tougher, a little harder, the tempo is a bit higher. It’s taken a bit of time to get used to it, but it has gone much better than expected,” she explained.

“We’ve said we want to win every competition we’re in, so we just have to keep going.”

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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