It's been a long, tough road for Joshua Gatt, but he's finally back. After dealing with his third knee operation, the 24-year old winger made the match day roster for Molde's 4-2 victory over Odds BK (or Odd Grenland).
Dagens lagoppstilling mot Odd. #herkommermolde pic.twitter.com/JwLIBb6tqd— Molde Fotballklubb (@Molde_FK) August 21, 2016
Although Gatt did not appear in the Norwegian Tippeligaen match, it's still a great sign that he was able to work his way back from yet another injury.
Before the match, Gatt made a heartfelt post on Instagram:
This day has been coming for a long time now. After years of work and unfortunate injuries I am finally able to put my jersey back on. I am so grateful to every single person who got me to this point. @osphysio for helping me get to the place I needed to be after my third surgery. Dr. Prof. Stefan Hinterwimmer for being the one to preform my surgery and make it so that my knee is as strong as ever to play. My parents and family for always believing in me and knowing that I could complete this last obstacle and get back onto the field. My beautiful and wonderful wife @lissagatt who has stood by my side through every single step of this journey and who will be here live to see it all come to a head, I love you. My agent @takamine111 who never doubted my return even after three surgeries and still believes me to be a player who can make a difference on and off the pitch. My national team @ussoccer and @j_klinsmann for pushing me in the direction of getting the help I needed and always making sure I was ok and doing well. I couldn't be where I am without all the love, support and help I have received along the way. Lastly I wanna thank @moldefotballklubb for always standing by my side and giving me the chance to prove myself time and time again. I'm so happy and so relieved to finally say. I am back.
It's a credit to his club that they've stuck with him through all of his injury struggles. He last played in May of 2015 (which was another return from injury), but only made a five minute appearance before injuring himself again. This time, Molde took extra precaution to get him ready for a return.
"We're not going to take any chances this time," manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in April. "The boy's positive and impatient, so it is our job to hold him back a bit. Rather one week extra than a day too little."
Gatt made two appearances for the U.S. national team, with the second coming in January of 2013 (a scoreless draw with Canada). While it is far too early to speculate about a possible return, it's nice to see that he's back on track. Maybe he'll recapture the magic, maybe he won't, but at least he's healthy enough to continue earning a paycheck playing professional soccer.
Another American, Ethan Horvath, started and played 90 minutes in goal for Molde.