NEW YORK – Mix Diskerud is as diverse as the city he now calls home. Born in Norway, the US national team midfielder is about to embark on his second season with New York City FC, who play host to Orlando City SC on Friday (7 pm ET; UniMas).
What makes Mix tick? What’s the secret to his glorious hair? Who does he have in his cell phone? We have answers to all those questions and more.
King of the Lip Sync
The ride from the apartment Diskerud shares with teammate Khiry Shelton to NYCFC’s training facility is about 30 minutes. That’s just enough time for the duo to post, usually on Diskerud’s Snapchat or Instagram, a lip-sync video.
“He does the high pitch notes in the songs, while I’ve got the more deeper voices, even though we don’t sing,” Diskerud said. “My go-to song right now is probably 'Gravity' by John Mayer.”
Fan of social media
Diskerud loves to interact with fans on several social media platforms, which includes taking song requests for the daily lip-sync collaborations.
“For me, being able to play soccer, we need fans,” he said. “They’re the ones who make the club and give us opportunities to be soccer players. I get pleasure out of interacting with fans. It’s fun hearing what they have to say.”
Diskerud is perhaps equally famous for his ability on the soccer field as his glorious hair. Good luck getting any secrets to optimal hair care from Diskerud, who might have a few endorsement deals in the works.
“I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you,” Diskerud joked. “There’s some different products I use and I won't reveal that yet, but there’s different techniques to doing shampooing and conditioning.”
Diskerud is not a fan of Norwegian delicacies (“Those are too weird for me”), but he’s found a store in New York City to get some tastes from home, although he’s yet to find better banana bread than his mother’s.
“There’s a Norwegian store in New York where I can get Norwegian caviar, which I love, and brown cheese, which is a Norwegian favorite,” Diskerud said. “I recommend it.”
Let's go Rangers
Growing up in Norway, Diskerud watched a lot of hockey on television. But it was nothing compared to his first live NHL game, two years ago at Madison Square Garden.
“I didn’t think that was as cool as when I saw my first live hockey game, a [New York] Rangers game, which was incredible. I’m in love with hockey,” Diskerud said. “I try to go to games when I can.”
Almost lost in translation for Diskerud: the Rangers fans' chant for Mats Zuccarello.
“I thought they were saying 'boo' and I was kind of getting mad at the people around me because, why are they booing him?” Diskerud said. “But then it took me a couple of seconds to realize they were saying “Zuuuuuuc.”
Like many other Rangers fans, Diskerud calls Zuccarello, a fellow Norwegian, his favorite player. In fact, the two have developed a friendship since Diskerud arrived in New York.
“We went out for dinners and stuff and he’s a really good guy,” Diskerud said. “It looks like the fans in New York love him to bits and pieces, and they should, because he’s a great hockey player. They call him the Hobbit. I see, because he’s smaller than everyone else – but it’s a joy to watch him play hockey.”
What's in a name?
Diskerud got his nickname “Mix” because he had so much energy in running around his house as a young child that he reminded his mother of a Mixmaster kitchen appliance.
The title Mixmaster has two different connotations. It can refer to a DJ and a cook. So can this Mix do either?
“I would say I’m good at picking songs, but to remix them? Probably not as good,” Diskerud said. “When it comes to cooking, my go-to dish would be oven-baked salmon in different spices.”
Favorite thing about NYC
In a city with its share of sporting events, theater, museums and restaurants, Diskerud has a lot to choose from when it comes to his enjoyment of New York City. But he has no hesitation when asked about his favorite thing about living in the Big Apple.
“That’s easy for me. It’s the people,” he said. “There are so many different, interesting people. Every time I go out and do something, I get to talk to many different people because they approach you. That doesn’t happen in many other parts of the world.”
Though he’s just 25, Diskerud could not pick just one highlight of his career to this point. He settled for three.
His first was scoring away against Russia in his first USMNT game under Jurgen Klinsmann.
“It was kind of cool when you think of the 'Rocky' movies and fighting over there against Ivan Drago. I kind of felt like that,” Diskerud said. “Randomly, I watched that like two weeks before the game in Norway.”
Diskerud also said scoring the first-ever NYCFC goal, in a 1-1 draw at Orlando FC on the opening day of 2015, is something he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
“That was a special moment for me,” he said. “That was a lot of fun.”
Being part of the United States' squad at the FIFA World Cup is another highlight.
“It is something I’ll never forget, being among 23 people representing a whole country. It doesn’t get any bigger than that,” he said.
Diskerud has eclectic tastes, and that’s reflected in his cell phone’s contact list. Sure, it contains plenty of soccer players and coaches, but he’s also some interesting friends and acquaintances in there.
Among the coolest numbers in his phone is the one that belongs to fellow Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who is the world’s best chess player. He met him at an event in Manhattan a year ago.
“They blindfolded him and he played against three people at the same time, three very good chess players and he won every single one of them,” Diskerud said. “He had to memorize his moves and each of their moves.”
Also in Diskerud’s phone are Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, the Grammy Award-winning Haitian-born composer and producer of the Fugees 1996 album “The Score,” who he met through Nico and Vinz, as well as new The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.