Who am i?
We all have our stories. Here is mine with some questions for you.
In 2018, I moved to Melbourne to challenge myself socially and professionally. At the beginning of that year I started Montessori Sports in Australia. Montessori Sports helps to implement more sports and movement into Montessori environments. We develop integrated curricula, run courses and workshops. We do this online and on location.
Besides running Montessori Sports in Australia, I played at the highest semi-professional level. Additionally, I have coached and mentored many boys and girls. Most of them already played for a professional academy, some were close to that, and others just wanted to become the best version of themselves.
I am known as a very ambitious, sportive, positive, and social man. If I were to describe myself in two words, I would choose energetic and disciplined.
Since January 2021 I am based in Amsterdam again. We continue to grow with Montessori Sports and I have joined FC Volendam to contribute to the vision, mission and goals.
I’m looking forward to develop myself furter!
– How would you describe yourself?
When I was 20, I moved to Amsterdam to attend University and explore the life of a student, which I enjoyed. During the first year of my Bachelor, I still had a professional contract as a player at FC Utrecht. I finished my Bachelor Board & Organizational Science at the VU University of Amsterdam with an Honours degree and the price ‘Student Talent of the Year’ in 2015. I thanked this to my grades, but moreover to my extra-curricular activities, such as playing semi-professional football, being a member of the Student Board, and internships at NOC*NSF and the Ajax Coaching Academy. Besides being the Dutch Olympic body, NOC*NSF supports all recreational and elite sports within the Netherlands. At NOC*NSF, I combined my internship with writing my bachelor thesis about stakeholder management. At AFC Ajax, I helped to set up the Ajax Coaching Academy. This is now a successful department that is responsible for (inter)national collaborations of AFC Ajax and spreading their philosophy.
After finishing my Bachelor’s, I spend one year as a member of The Boardroom at the VU University. The Boardroom is an annual program that consists of a group of 20 excellent students, who participate in a program that includes Masterclasses from multinationals with complex cases to solve.
Meanwhile, my parents both showed strength after a difficult period for all. We were reminded to count our blessings and to take nothing for granted.
After finishing my Master Business Administration at the University of Amsterdam in June 2017, I was ready for a new challenge.
– How did you experience your time as a student?
My time at Ajax started very successfully, which resulted in playing for the national youth teams and a professional contract at age 16. During this period, I have won many individual and team prices. Despite the interest from clubs like Arsenal FC and AC Milan, I believed that staying at Ajax would be the best for my development.
After three consecutive ACL injuries at the age of 17, 18, and 19, I chose for the semi-professional club TEC. TEC is active in the Second Division in Holland. Although I achieved my goal of becoming a ‘real football player’, my ultimate dream of becoming a football star was over.
Besides getting injured and losing my dream to become a professional football player, things at home changed as well. Our parents divorced, business didn’t go as usual and we had to move houses. Due to these setbacks, my siblings and I got very close.
All these events motivated me to set other ambitious goals in life.
– What motivated you to set ambitious goals in life?
Luckily, I could enter the youth academy of my local professional team: FC Utrecht. I played for FC Utrecht aged 11 – 14. After these successful years Feyenoord, PSV, and AFC Ajax wanted me to join their academy. I chose, in my eyes, for the best academy in world: AFC Ajax. Not only their football expertise was the best, also their cooperation with schools was well organized. This was important to my family and me.
Where my behaviour at primary school was still very impulsive, I started to become more disciplined during my early adolescent years. Years of parenting and professional football started to pay off.
– How were you as a child?
Growing up happened in a comfortable environment, which included having three younger siblings and married parents. We could go on holidays and lived in a house by the park where we had enough space to play.
When I was five years old, I watched the football World Cup 1998 with my mother. I still remember how passionate she was about it. I didn’t understand the game, but I knew it must be something special. I decided to play football. Aged six, I started playing at my local club, SV Kampong. When I was eight years old, my father told me I was scouted by Feyenoord. This was my introduction to professional football.
Being rejected to play for their youth academy motivated me even more to become a ‘real football player’.
– Which experience(s) sparked your life?