Hege Riise (born 18 July 1969 in Lørenskog) is a Norwegian former soccer player who, since August 2022, is the coach of the Norwegian women's national soccer team. Riise is (as of July 2022) the Norwegian national team player, regardless of gender, with the most A- international matches. She has played a total of 188 international matches and scored 58 goals. She was voted the World Cup's best player in 1995.
Hege Riise started playing football when she was six years old. She then played with a boys' team for several years, but as she got older she had to switch to a girls' team and therefore changed as a 14-year-old. When she was 14–15 years old, she joined the circuit team. She made her debut for Setskog/Høland in the top division in women's football in 1989. Riise became her team's top scorer that year with twelve goals. In 1990, she made her debut on the national team, on 23 July, when Norway beat Canada 2-0 in Winnipeg. Riise also took part in the two subsequent matches in Winnipeg, against the USA. She scored her first national team goal in the second match against the USA, when Norway lost 2-4. In the series, she was second best on the top scorer list, two goals behind German Petra Bartelmann, who played for Asker.
Riise was selected for the WC in 1991, the first official one, where she helped win silver. She played all the matches, and scored one goal, against New Zealand. In 1992, she and the club team managed to come second in the series, after they had finished fourth the year before. Before that, fifth place was the club's best position. Later that year, Setskog/Høland managed to beat Asker 3-0 in the NM final, where Riise scored the 2-0 goal.
In 1993, Hege Riise joined the EC in Italy. She was replaced in the semi-final against Denmark, but played the entire final. At the time, the championship only had semi-finals and finals. The two matches and a training match against Sweden were the only three matches Riise played in the national team that year. She also had few goals in the series, and it may have been an injury that set her back. In 1994, Riise was back on the national team and club team again.
Hege Riise took part in the 1995 Women's World Cup. Here she scored goals in all matches except the semi-final against the USA. She didn't become the top scorer (it was Ann Kristin Aarønes), but won the Adidas Golden Ball. She also became the tournament's second highest scorer. Riise scored the penultimate goal of the tournament when Norway beat Germany 2-0.
Riise gained international attention, and became one of several Norwegian players who were offered a place in the professional Japanese league. She stayed in Nikko for two years together with several national team colleagues. After the Japanese league merged in 1998, she moved back to Norway and Setskog-Høland, where she played for two seasons. Riise then announced a transfer to Asker ahead of the 2000 season, and helped the team to win the cup. In the same year, and with somewhat more attention, Hege Riise helped win Olympic gold with the national team. Hege Riise played all matches, including the final. Riise was offered a place in the newly started American professional series WUSA, where she stayed with the Carolina Courage for three years. In 2002, she became champion in the USA, after winning both the basic series and the cup with Caroline Courage. Riise was also nominated for player of the year In 2003, she was named the best Norwegian female soccer player of all time. In 2004, she was awarded Kniksen's honorary prize. Riise returned to Norway and continued to play after WUSA was closed, then for Team Strømmen. On 28 October 2006, she played her last match at the top level at the age of 37.
At the Sports Gala 2016, she was awarded the Sports Gala's honorary award.
Team Strømmen (2004–2008)
Starting with the 2004 season, Riise became a playing assistant coach for Team Strømmen in the Toppserien. After the 2006 season, she put her shoes on the shelf, and took over as head coach of Team Strømmen after Janne Jansson resigned. Under Riise's leadership, the team took 5th place in 2007, before taking silver in the Toppserien 2008. Team Strømmen also came ten