Interview | 'For a seventeen-year-old girl, I go into the duels very hard'

Interview | 'For a seventeen-year-old girl, I go into the duels very hard'
6 min

Leaving the parental nest at seventeen and moving to a new city to study is already quite a challenge for most teenagers. Veerle Buurman joined PSV football at the same time, where she earned a pro contract in no time. Despite the fact that her world has changed drastically in a short time, the very young defender remains calm above all else.

I imagine you've experienced the past few months as a roller coaster?
"I really regularly have those moments of realization, how different everything looked a year ago. It has all happened very quickly, but fortunately they are all positive developments."

Can you talk about what has been happening this season?
"I made the switch from SC Bemmel to PSV, where I joined Young PSV Women. After a short period I was already allowed to train with the A-selection and eventually I was permanently transferred to the main squad. In addition, I signed my first professional contract in January."

'It has all happened very quickly, but fortunately they are all positive developments'

PSV had you on their radar before, then together they opted for a customized program. Why did you think that was important?
"A final transfer to PSV meant that I either had to move or spend a lot of time traveling. I wanted to finish HAVO at my own high school, so that didn't go together."

As a result, you played among the boys up to and including the O17. At that age, there are already physical differences between boys and girls. How did you hold your own?
"Most of the boys were faster and stronger, so I mainly had to play smarter football. At the same time, you become more physical yourself. For a seventeen-year-old girl, I go into duels very hard, haha!"

Back then it was a hobby, now football is your job. How do you like that transition?
"I have to say I was ready for it. I enjoy the level here every day. At Bemmel I was 'one of the guys.' We always trained together and had a lot of fun. We became champions eleven times. I had a great time there."

'Most of the guys were faster and stronger, so I had to play smarter football more than anything else'

Was each championship equally beautiful?
"The last one was very special. A former teammate had passed away, which brought us very close. We had to make up a goal difference of eight goals the last game. The competitor had already celebrated the championship, but we won by exactly 8-0. I will never forget that."

You have now been living in Eindhoven for over six months, how do you like it?
"I like the bit of independence. I'm learning a lot, but I also like going home every now and then and seeing my family again. I got my driver's license nine months ago, so once I turn eighteen, I can travel back and forth a little easier."

Is there one player at PSV Women that impressed you right away?
"That is without a doubt Gwyneth Hendriks. She is only 23 years old, but takes the team in tow every training session and match. Both with her qualities on the ball and with her coaching. I find that very clever."

'The competitor had already celebrated the championship, but we won exactly 8-0. I will never forget that'

Did you always have a football player or football star you used to look up to?
"I always like to watch Virgil van Dijk. He defends very smartly and is very present vocally. On that last part, I can still make strides. I may make myself heard a little more often."

Are you also quieter in the group?
"I'm introverted, but if I feel in place somewhere, I can be quite busy. That is fortunately the case here. Although I remain the very youngest, so I like to listen to the stories of the experienced players. When I hear what they've been through, it only makes me extra excited for the seasons to come."

What is it like to be the very youngest?
"I've always been the youngest on various youth teams in the Orange as well, so I don't mind so much. They often call me little one, jonkie or Veertje, so they like to remind me, haha!

How do you like to spend your free time?
"When I'm not playing football, I usually have to focus on my physical therapy studies. I also like to spend time with friends and family. I don't have a real hobby, but with a full-time professional life AND studying, that's not a lack."

'My biggest wish remains a call-up for the Orange Lionesses. That would be a dream come true'

It's a while away, but after your career, so do you want to become a physical therapist?
"I do see that as an option. My dad thinks I can be a good trainer, so that's also a possibility. But as you say yourself, it's still a long way off so I'm not really working on it yet."

Recently NOS ranked you among the twenty greatest talents in the Netherlands. What did that do to you?
"It was immediately made clear to me here that you should not pay too much attention to what is said about you. Not if it's negative and not if it's positive, but I can't deny that I got a smile on my face when I heard it."

Sunday you play at Philips Stadium, are you looking forward to that?
"Yes, I think it's very special. I just heard that 10,000 tickets have already been sold. I've never played in front of so many people. I'm already looking forward to the moment I walk out of the tunnel and see all those faces."

You are at the beginning of an undoubtedly wonderful career, what ambitions do you have?
"First, I want to become champion with PSV many times. After that, I hope to make a transfer to a top European club. My biggest wish remains a call-up for the Orange Lionesses. That would be a dream come true."

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