Emma Coolen - PSV/FC Eindhoven

The best day of my life

‘That was… the greatest experience of my life. I didn’t play, of course. But so what. Tonight I was part of a BeNeLeague-squad. And it was everything I hoped it would be, and then some more. I had a taste of the real thing. I’ll be back.’

This is what it says in my journal for Friday the 28th of February 2015. And it’s true, it was the best day of my life. More than a year of hard word all came together on that evening. It must sound at least a bit strange for people that play sports at a high level themselves: how on earth can sitting on the bench for 90 minutes be the best day of your life? Let me explain.

A little over a year earlier, in November of 2013, I went on holiday to Sweden. One of my friends recommended a visit to Tyresö FF, at that time the best team in one of the biggest women’s soccer leagues in the world: the Swedish Damallsvenskan. I had been playing soccer for about ten years, but since the age of fifteen in teams where the third half was the most important one. To say that soccer was a poor excuse to spend the rest of the Sunday getting drunk is an understatement.

Voetbalteam Tyresö FF
Uknowing supporter with three players – I had no idea who these women were at the time…

But there I was, in the stands in a suburb of Stockholm, and my toes were freezing off. The Swedish women were up against the Danish side Fortuna Hjørring. 90 minutes after referee Amy Fearn blew on her whistle for the first time I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life: become a professional soccer player.

Optimistic – or just plain crazy?

‘Nothing is impossible’, you often get told as a teenager, by ways of motivating you to chase your dreams. But deciding to become a pro soccer player at age twenty, after just having spent the better part of five years drinking, smoking, and partying, that might sound a little enthusiastic, even for the biggest optimist.

On this blog I’ll describe my weird, tough, but above all crazy road in soccer. An adventure that started on that cold Tuesday night in Stockholm, and hopefully will last many more years. And if two or a million people read along, I don’t really care. Heck, even if no one but myself sees this story, hopefully I’ll have something fun to share with the grandkids in forty years.

See ya!