Interview | 'Pushing my body to its limits, that's what I enjoy'

Interview | 'Pushing my body to its limits, that's what I enjoy'
5 min

An injury caused Lisan Alkemade (21) to go under the crossbar for the first time, where the pressures of goalkeeping captured her heart. Among other things, it sparked her interest in sports psychology. What lies behind the goalkeeper who just loves to dive into the mud?

How did you become a goalkeeper?
"That was pure coincidence, because in my early years I was in the field. When I was seven I got injured and was not allowed to play football for a while. I was fed up with that so I asked if I could play under the crossbar. I immediately enjoyed it. The diving in the mud and the idea that one mistake could be fatal. That may sound crazy, but that pressure makes me perform better."

When did you realize you could become very good?
"When I went to PSV. I immediately felt at home and noticed that I could be of value. Of course you don't realize right away that you can make the A squad, but I could see myself playing at PSV for a long time."

What are your qualities in a group?
"I am by myself very empathetic. For me it is important that everyone feels good. During a game it's about winning or losing, so then my empathic ability is a little lower though. At training sessions I always try to support my teammates, especially when I notice that things are not going so well. The same goes for situations outside football."

"Coincidentally, I'm reading a book right now that Peter Bosz recommended."

How important have your parents been to you in your career?
"Incredibly important. I don't think I'm the only one who talks about it that way, but that has really been my foundation for everything I have and can do now. The home front is a safe environment for me. I always like to have a little contact before the game when there are acquaintances of mine."

What do you do in your free time?
"I regularly take courses to broaden my horizons, but when I'm really free I prefer to read a book. I like different genres: from history to psychology and biographies to fiction. I happen to be reading a book that Peter Bosz recommended: 'Relentless', about mental toughness! Furthermore, I like being with family and friends, having a cup of coffee in a café or walking through the woods. I also like to be active outside of football."

What is your favorite vacation country?
"I love Italy very much. The food, the people and the lifestyle attract me a lot. Actually, I only discovered it a few years ago, but since then I have visited several cities. Thus, I have also met some people there so I really enjoy going there."

How do you experience life as a pro?
"A lot of fun! The sporting aspect attracts me a lot. I enjoy being nice and busy and pushing my body to its limits, so in that it's kind of a lifestyle that suits me."

"A mistake can hit hard and the potential reactions immediately haunt your mind."

How do you deal with disappointment?
"That's the hardest part of the job and especially as a goalkeeper. In the end, you are the player who can prevent a goal against. A mistake can hit you hard and the potential reactions immediately go through your head. You have to forget about that immediately, but that is easier said than done. The only thing you can do after a moment like that is analyze where it went wrong."

Is there a goalkeeper you often watch yourself?
"I have always looked at Manuel Neuer. He is an example for many goalkeepers, not only because of his qualities, but also because of his mentality. I myself have technical and athletic qualities that I can put to good use in goalkeeping. Co-football is also a fun part for me, because you feel like an extra puppet inside the lines for a while."

What moment has always stayed with you?
"Before I was at PSV, I played for a CTO team. Once we got very far in the KNVB Cup. We met FC Twente in the quarterfinals and that game ended in a draw. In the penalty shootout I stopped two or three penalties and that last save in particular is still on my mind."

What are your ambitions in football?
"With PSV I want to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League one day and pick up a prize, and I myself want to play for a foreign club one day. Whether that's in Spain, England or a Scandinavian country. It just seems like a fun challenge and above all a cool adventure!"

Have you already thought about your career after football?
"Definitely, but I haven't quite figured it out yet! I finished my HAVO and took courses in different fields to find out what I really like. Doing something in sports with psychology or exercise science seems very interesting to me. Luckily I still have some time to get my bearings!"

Lisan, we've got your back. This monthly column is made possible in part by OTTO Work Force. Our back sponsor supports anyone with the ambition to reach their personal peak.