Position: Defensive Midfielder
Date of birth: 11-02-1985
Country of birth: Netherlands
Pro games: 114
Former Clubs: VV Dalen Youth, FC Emmen Youth, SV Meppen
Tell me about your childhood in the Netherlands. When did you start playing soccer?
Well, I was born in the Netherlands, but grew up in the small village of Dalen in Holland. I started playing soccer when I was five years old, mostly on small pitches. The kids in the neighbor hoods all played. The clubs in Holland play different seasons than here in the US. They play ten months out of the year – spring, fall and summer. Futsal is also very popular in Holland.
Who were your childhood soccer heroes?
I don’t really have a particular soccer hero from my childhood, but I really like Steven Gerard from Liverpool and Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal.
Who is your favorite team?
My favorite team is Liverpool. I lived in Liverpool and got to see one of the games at Anfield with a friend. It was a very impressive experience. The fans were singing the whole time and they never stopped clapping. The ambiance was much more electric than it was even in Germany.
Are you still in school?
Yes, I’m studying sales and marketing at Stenden University in Emmen, Holland. I’m doing an internship here with the Dayton Dutch Lions. I’ve been doing a lot of road shows and then writing reports. I’ll graduate after my internship is complete.
When did you start playing club soccer and what was like in Holland?
I played with the village team, VV Dalen, until I was 15 years old. Then, I moved on to their amateur league where we were paid about $250 euro ($300 USD) a year to play. I signed a contract with FC Emmen when I was 17 and played there for six years – three years youth and three years as a senior. I then went on to play for SV Meppen in Germany for three years. SV Meppen is in the fourth league in Germany, which would be comparable to the second league in Holland.
What were the most valuable lessons you learned?
Well, I really grew up fast playing with older people. You go there a young boy, not knowing much, and you are playing with players up to 35 year old. So, you learn a lot in a very short period of time.
What was the schedule like?
In Emmen, in Holland, they would pick us up by bus in morning and take us to the stadium. From there, I would get on a bike and go to school. The bike was just easier to get to school, it wasn’t part of the training. After school, it was back to stadium for training. Sometimes we trained in the morning too. My classmates were a mix of kids who played soccer and some who did not. I usually got Home by 5 or 6pm and still had homework to do that evening.
When I was 16 in youth academy at Emmen we trained once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We would have a match on Saturday and then get Sunday off. The younger kids typically on trained three times a week.
I really enjoyed the experience. I had the opportunity to play against Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoorb in Rotterdam.
The Dutch Lions Head Coach, Sonny Silooy, coached the youth team at Ajax right?
Yes, but he wasn’t coaching there at the time when I played against them.
What brought you to the Dayton Dutch Lions?
A combination of things brought me here. I wanted to come to the US to see the States and have that experience. I also wanted to experience a different style of play. The chance to have Sonny Silooy as a trainer really made me want to come. Ajax is famous for their style of soccer and technical exercises. It’s such a great opportunity to train under Sonny.
What strengths do you think you’ll bring to the team?
I’m a good team player. I am always working hard. I would say that I have really good passing skills. I’m a very accurate crosser over distance and have a good shot. But I really feel like I can continue to improve on everything.
What excites you most about the upcoming season?
I’m really looking forward to our first training session. The facilities are perfect and the weather is good. It should be a really fun time. I really hope we have a team that blends together. I think we can be very successful.
Are you familiar with any of the opponents?
No. I expect we are going to have tough competition, but we will fight for a championship.
What do you see in store for the future of the Dayton Dutch Lions?
Hopefully, we’ll get a license to play at higher leagues and grow into a full professional club.
What do you want the fans to know about you as a soccer player?
I’m a hard worker. I will always be working hard. I’m never lazy, always moving. I never give up!
What do you think about Dayton so far?
I’ve been in Dayton just over three weeks and I really like it. I have seen so many people. Every day is great at the moment.
Have you found a favorite place to eat? What do you like there?
I really like PF Changs. It’s absolutely amazing! My favorite is the Kung Pao shrimp.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I like rock music or house music (Dutch House) . Dutch house get me pumped up to play. It’s much like techno-trans. It’s very European. I also like artists like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, 3 Doors Down and Eddy Feather of Pearl Jam.
What do you want the fans to know about you as a person?
I’m very outgoing, but quiet at the same time. I enjoy talking to people and I’m very easy to get along with. I hope the fans come and watch the games!
Roommate: Bas Ent
Player(s): Steven Gerard (Liverpool), Cscec Fabregas (Arsenal)
Restaurant: PF Changs (Kung Pao Chicken)
Music: Dutch House