‘If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster’. A nice way to start this week’s blog, isn’t it, this deep quote from author Stephen Covey. But is does describe how I’ve felt at FC Eindhoven these last few months.
That’s why I made the tough decision last week to leave that club mid-season, and try my luck elsewhere. A leap of faith that would turn into something I had never dared to dream of beforehand.
Let me quickly summarize this last week. On Sunday night, I decided that, after two years full of highs and lows, I would not return to FC Eindhoven for the preparation on the second half of the season. This also meant that I had to start searching for a club across the border. If you switch teams during the season, the Dutch soccer federation requires a very special reason for you to be eligible to play league games during that season.
If you do not match these strict criteria (e.g. moving far away or specific medial reasons), you can’t play official games for your new club until the summer. Unless you join a foreign club, in which case the rules do not apply to you. Fortunately, my picturesque home town of Son is located pretty close to the Dutch-Belgian border. The choice was easy. Flanders, here I come.
What I didn’t know when I made my decision to leave Eindhoven, was that the transfer deadline closes February 1st, or a mere four days after I had dropped of my set of clothes at my now former club. When I got a call from the Belgian side VC Moldavo on Wednesday afternoon, with the question if I wanted to come and train with them, I couldn’t answer ‘yes’ fast enough.
Even though there’s barely a language barrier between the Netherlands and Belgium, things on the soccer pitch are slightly different across the border. For example, you do not call a trainer by his or her first name, but ‘trainer’. Jogging a few laps after a strenuous exercise, are you kidding me? Ten push-ups for the losers of the relay race, and don’t you even dare to stroll to the next set of cones.
At the end of my first hour and a half at Moldavo I’d done about fifty push-ups (unfortunately I tended to end up on the losing teams – maybe my presence had something to do with it?) and the Belgian mud was stuck all the way up to my very last hollow molar. I was freezing cold, soaking wet, and completely worn-out. But I walked off that pitch with a huge smile on my face. ‘Just tell me where to sign.’
I’m going to miss the girls at FC Eindhoven, and I’m not particularly proud of the way I left my team mid-season. But with my big goal in mind I can’t do anything else but choose the right path for my own development at this point. Whatever happens these next months in Belgium, it’s going to be one heck of an adventure. And I absolutely can’t wait to make the very best out of my first international experience!
Thanks for reading, talk soon! 🙂