From Team Nobody to Team Dynasty, beating cliches in football

coaches diversity leadership teamperformance women football Nov 11, 2015
Mary Kok-Willemsen and Arjan Veurink at FC Twente.

When Holland as football nation is licking its wounds, trying to figure out if a new identity needs to be developed, or old values need to be enforced, there is 1 team breaking Dutch ground. With FC Twente women starting in 2007 in the Dutch Eredivisie, we ended up 3 years in a row as last on the table! After the first disappointing results we released most of our National Team players, only being replaced with homegrown regional youth players. (being 15 years old) Hard to understand for fans if cliche 1. “The team with the best players wins”‘ (I believed your best players needed to be the ones who can lead the process)

The 4th year “all of a sudden” FC Twente Women won the National Title beating cliche 2. “‘You have to grow into playing for a title” It was great to see that until the last 2 games we were only focussing on every game it's maximum result. No one was talking about the Title, it was a great teamfocus on the actual moment. We ended champions with the least National Team players!

The last 4 years FC Twente Women became a dynasty in Holland, winning three National Titles in a row and beating Bayern München in Champions League. Cliche 3: “The difference in ranking is created by the budget’. The Dutch dwarfs (holding mostly homegrown players with none full professional player on board! beating the German giant with only full professionals and a way higher budget) It was a game where Dutch tactics, an unbelievable will power and the awareness of reading their chances making FC Twente write history

In 2 days another chapter in history can be added. Cliche 4: ”Women soccer is not that interesting” More then 13.000 tickets are sold for FC Twente vs FC Barcelona, social media is booming, regional and live national tv, fans and youth are interested to watch these new heroes chasing their dream… Knowing this group is eager to write history, in need to share another succes with their fans in the FC Twente stadium.

But right now is also the momentum for true leaders AND pioneers to recognize which process created the succes. There is always people that love the spotlights. Holland can be proud on this Dutch school of succes. But the people that want to make succes sustainable have to step up now to give the coming generation the same chances in developing their talent! . Because they prove they can beat the cliches, when given the chances to develop! There are the cliches and there always is an outsider.

Because it is the only way women can design THEIR football future!

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