Netherlands squad for Women’s Euro 2022: player profiles - Martens, Roord...
The almost sacred 4-3-3 in the Netherlands remains the formation, but there are some nuances.
As part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a collaboration between media outlets from 16 countries, AS is offering in-depth profiles of the players in all 16 squads at the tournament, which runs from 6 to 31 July. This lowdown on the Netherlands team is written by Lars van Soest and Steven Kooijman of De Telegraaf.
Name: Sari van Veenendaal
Date of birth: April 3 1990 (32)
Profile: Sari van Veenendaal has been captain of the Oranje Leeuwinnen for many years now and is someone the rest of the group looks up to – both on and off the pitch. She leads by example and with words, talking in the pre and post match huddle with the message invariably being: “together we are strong.” Returned to the Netherlands in 2020 to join PSV after five years abroad (four at Arsenal and one at Atlético Madrid) so that she could be closer to her family. “I prefer to be in the Netherlands,” she said. “Otherwise you are not there at the moments you want to share. That is a great sacrifice at times.” Winner of the Golden Glove at the 2019 World Cup, she still wants to be the best in the world but she is not one of those players who think that football is everything. At Arsenal, for example, she lived with “non-football” people, including one teacher, to keep in touch with the rest of society.
Name: Barbara Lorsheyd
Date of birth: 26 March 1991 (31)
Club: ADO Den Haag
Profile: An experienced goalkeeper who has the record number of appearances for ADO Den Haag’s women’s side, going past Renate Jansen’s 187 games in April 2019. Has two brothers, including her twin brother Sander, with whom she always played growing up. Started out as a striker but was told to stop playing sports because of consistent knee problems. Instead she went in goal – and became an international. Won the double with Den Haag back in 2011 and also hit the headlines in 2021 when an accidental tackle put international teammate Sherida Spitse out of the Olympics. “Every working day I close the door at home in Loosduinen behind me at six in the morning,” she once told Den Haag Centraal. “I then drive from the swimming pool to ADO at the end of the afternoon to train and come home in the evening. Well, then I’m pretty tired. It’s demanding physically and mentally but I always come home feeling good. I do what I like, otherwise I wouldn’t have lasted two hundred games.”
Name: Daphne van Domselaar
Date of birth: 6 March 2000 (22)
Club: FC Twente
Profile: She is only 22 but has already won three Dutch league titles with FC Twente.
She stems from Oudkarpsel in Westfriesland, a region that is known as the”kingdom of a thousand islands” because of its patchwork of moats and farmlands and likes ice-skating in the winter. Otherwise she is very focused on football and rarely goes out. The amount of times she has been seen in the pub can probably be counted on two hands. Before the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France she collected Panini stickers, this time she is preparing for the actual tournament. Would like to play in the English Women’s Super League in the future. Was playing with boys up until Under-15 level.
Name: Merel van Dongen
Date of birth: 11 February 1993 (29)
Club: Atlético Madrid
Profile: Sport was an integral part of Van Dongen’s and her siblings’ lives while growing up – and look at the results. Merel is a Dutch international in football, her twin sister is a Dutch champion in basketball and her older sister plays for the Dutch rugby team. Football is clearly central to Van Dongen’s life, so much so in fact that she asked to marry her girlfriend (former professional footballer and Ajax teammate Ana Romero) in the centre circle at the Ajax training complex De Toekomst. Once asked what the most important lesson she learned from her parents, she told Vice: “To love your children unconditionally. I remember when I was 19 and kissed a girl for the first time. I just walked up to my parents and said, “I kissed a girl yesterday.” The response was: “Great! Was it fun? What is her name?” The Amsterdam native is not afraid to make her voice heard off the pitch either when it comes to women’s football when there are issues affecting the sport and there is a high probability we will see Van Dongen, who has a degree in psychology, as a board member of a club or the KVNB in the future. “Women’s football is very close to my heart,” she says.
Name: Dominique Janssen
Date of birth: 17 January 1995 (27)
Profile: Played under the name of Dominique Bloodworth for two years between 2018 and 2020 after getting married but reverted back to her maiden name Janssen after splitting with the former sprinter Brandon Bloodworth. Now in a relationship with the goalkeeping coach at her current club, Wolfsburg, Janssen was part of the squad that won the last Euros on home soil. A classy defender who can play in defence and midfield, she is also a qualified dietician. A big of a morning smoothie, which she sometimes treats her teammates to, her favourite recipe is as follows (she told Women’s Health): “I mix frozen fruit, half a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter – from the Netherlands, of course – and Herbalife Nutrition supplements, with muesli, seeds and fruit as toppings such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or kiwi (just what is available at the time in the fridge).”
Name: Stefanie van der Gragt
Date of birth: 16 August 1992 (29)
Profile: One of two players in the squad who has a child running around at home (Sherida Spitse is the other). Van der Gragt is a proud mother of daughter Noé Linn. She grew up in a football-loving family and all her three sisters played too. One of her siblings, Ashley, also had huge potential but tore her cruciate ligaments five times and in the end accepted that she had to stop. Her dad, Fred, even coached at the local team but stopped after a year, apparently for being a little “too fanatical”. Now back in the Netherlands after a disappointing spell at Bayern Munich and a happy one at Barcelona, she is also working with the former Netherlands and Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar, at the AZ Alkmaar’s academy, coaching the boys Under-16 side.
Name: Caitlin Dijkstra
Date of birth: 30 January 1999 (23)
Club: FC Twente
Profile: Has been on a remarkable journey to get here. When she was six she suddenly started to struggle to walk, having difficulty putting one foot in front of the other. She was taken to hospital and doctors found an inflammation behind the sacrum. She had to lie on her back for three weeks before she could learn how to walk again. “I learned early on not to take health for granted,” she has said. Came through the ranks at Ajax but was then kept out of the first team by first the return of Stefanie van der Gragt and then, having moved into midfield, the signing of Sherida Spitse. She made the decision to leave Ajax in the summer of 2021 and after a strong season with FC Twente she made Mark Parsons’s Euro squad.
Name: Aniek Nouwen
Date of birth: 9 March 1999 (23)
Profile: One of a bunch of talented Lionesses who broke through into the Dutch team last year. Is a big fan of PSV, her old club, and Chelsea, her current employer. Visited Stamford Bridge to see her favourite English team – and former PSV idol Alex – play as a girl. “I’m a central defender, either on the left or the right. I’m a physical player, strong, fast and can make a good pass,” she said as she joined the Blues in 2021. And her first season could not have gone much better as Emma Hayes’ side won the double. A permanent fixture in the Dutch side since the Olympics, she is a big fan of TikTok although admits that she is a terrible dancer. “I am not very good at it, it is just for fun,” she told the Chelsea YouTube channel.
Name: Lynn Wilms
Date of birth: 3 October 2000 (21)
Club: VfL Wolfsburg
Profile: A few years back she was the female player who played at the highest level in boys’ football in the Netherlands, representing Sportclub Irene in the second tier. Like Barbara Lorsheyd, she has a twin brother with Lynn’s called Rik. They are not very similar at all, says their mother, adding that Rik thinks carefully before he does something while Lynn is far more impulsive and carefree. No surprise then, perhaps, that she has Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of her idols. Joined German powerhouse Wolfsburg in 2021 from Twente and, playing at right-back, won the domestic double in her first season in Germany.
Name: Marisa Olislagers
Date of birth: 9 September 2000 (21)
Club: FC Twente
Profile: Has the chance to be the big surprise in Mark Parsons’ starting line-up this summer. The coach is desperately looking for a left-back and Olislagers, who started out in midfield, may well be the answer. Like many of her international teammates, Olislagers comes from a CTO training team (Centre for Elite Sport and Education). Played with CTO Amsterdam, a team that consisted solely of youth internationals, in a boys competition. Has won the Dutch league with FC Twente for the past two years and looks ready for a spell abroad after the summer.
Name: Kerstin Casparij
Date of Birth: 19 August 2000 (21)
Club: FC Twente
Profile: One of the younger members of the squad, Casparij has made Mark Parsons’ squad for the Euros after an impressive season with FC Twente. She is only 21 but in the past season she won the Dutch league, made her Champions League debut and played her first game for the Netherlands. According to her Instagram account she likes to buy old-fashioned CDs and vinyls. Ubuntu is a special word for her. It guided her and her teammates to the Dutch title this year. ‚,That’s just our thing at FC Twente. It means: I am because we are. It’s a magical thing. It’s hard to explain. We all tried it at home, but nobody understands. You really have to feel it.”
Name: Jill Roord
Date of birth: 22 April 1997 (25)
Club: VfL Wolfsburg
Profile: It is remarkable to think that Roord is still only 25 years old. At the time of writing she has 74 caps and 18 goals for the Netherlands from midfield and a Euros gold and World Cup silver to her name. Has a tremendous connection with Vivianne Miedema, with whom she has played since they were young. The two of them played at Arsenal together but in the summer of 2021 Roord felt that she needed a new challenge and joined Wolfsburg. Roord comes from a sporting family with her mother a basketball player and her father, René, playing top flight football in the Netherlands (he played together with Marco van Basten at youth level for the national team). In an interview with De Telegraaf, she said: “He’s texting me every day saying: ‘How’s it going?’ He has done that for years.” He has always analyzed her games and is always very honest. She added: “We have had some arguments; not any more because I’m realistic now. I know when I haven’t played well and what I should have done better but when I was younger, yeah, we had some fights about it.”
Name: Damaris Egurrola
Date of Birth: 16 August 1999 (22)
Club: Olympique Lyon
Profile: Born in Florida, raised in the Basque Country by a Dutch mother, Egurrola could have chosen either of the US, Spain or the Netherlands for her senior international career. For a long time it looked like it would be Spain with Egurrola even winning the 2017 European Championship with the Under-19s. A friendly for La Roja followed but that is where it stopped because of the persistence of the Dutch national team coach, Mark Parsons, and Egurrola’s teammate at Lyon, Daniëlle van de Donk. In March 2022 she announced that she was switching her international allegiance to the Netherlands and a month later she made her debut in her mother’s home city, Groningen. Both her parents were there, both with tears in their eyes. “I wasn’t surprised.,” she said. “They’re still emotional when we talk about it. They will never forget it.” In her second international match she scored twice, showing Dutch fans why Lyon paid €100,000 for her to sign her from Everton in 2021. Understands Dutch but finds it difficult to speak the language.
Name: Sherida Spitse
Date of Birth: 29 May 1990 (32, is 33 during the tournament)
Profile: Took her first international steps for the Dutch national team as a 16-year-old and has been playing for the Lionesses for 16 years now. She is the first Dutch footballer to have played more than 200 games for her country and is a trailblazer in many other ways too. Back in 2013 she was the first female Dutch player to be transferred for a fee as Norwegian side LSK reportedly paid €25,000 for her to sign her from FC Twente. Nicknamed “The Oranje cannon” because of her ferocious shot, she is back in the Netherlands now and her favourite club Ajax, partly to be closer to her family. Spitse has two children – Jens and Mila – and is looking forward to the Euros after missing the Olympics after a training ground injury on the eve of the tournament. It was the first time since 2009 the Lionesses had to play a major tournament without Spitse.
Name: Daniëlle van de Donk
Date of birth: 5 August 1991 (30)
Profile: It was a race against time for Van de Donk to be fit for the Euros after suffering a rare shin muscle injury against the Czech Republic in November 2021. It was initially estimated that she would be out for four months but her lay-off lasted the whole season, meaning that she missed out on Lyon’s Champions League win against Barcelona, although she was fit enough to sit on the bench. “I didn’t dare to think about the Champions League final. I’ve always dreamed about playing that match,” she said. She has now been part of a team that has won the trophy but still wants to play in the final one day. Has been a driving force for her country for years now, having made her debut in 2010 and celebrated her 100th cap in 2019. The cheerful midfielder won the Euros on home soil in 2017. Spent six years at Arsenal, where she was in a relationship with teammate Beth Mead. They parted ways as good friends half a year ago.
Name: Jackie Groenen
Date of birth: 17 December 1994 (27)
Club: Manchester United
Profile: As a multiple youth national judo champion, the Manchester United midfielder once dreamed about participating in the Olympics. In 2021 that dream came true, but has a footballer. Entering the tournament as one of the favourites they lost on penalties to the United States at the quarter-final stage. Groenen’s judo career came to an end when she was 17 and injured her hip the day before a football game. She has Dutch parents but grew up just across the border in Poppel and came close to playing for Belgium as the Netherlands took an awful long time to get in contact. She wanted to play for Belgium but Fifa blocked it because she had not had a Belgian passport by the time she was playing for the Dutch under-age teams. Has always had an interest in playing in England and represented Chelsea in 2014-15 and joined Manchester United in 2019 after four years with FFC Frankfurt. “I’ve really enjoyed it here up until now, but I honestly can’t get used to the weather,” she told the United website. “It goes up and down really quickly. When it rains here, it pours! It’s not just rain... you drown!”
Name: Victoria Pelova
Date of birth: 3 June 1999 (24)
Profile: A superbly skilled No10 with Bulgarian roots, Pelova is also a very smart girl who combines her football with an applied maths degree in Delft. As an 11-year-old she took part in the Dutch National Chess Championship. She finished in the middle but only after beating the eventual champions. She also did snowboarding and tennis. She played with boys at amateur club Concordia until she was 17 before joining ADO Den Haag. “I went from training twice a week to almost every day,” she told RTL Nieuws. “I didn’t pay attention to my diet at all back then so it was really hard physically.” As an indication of what kind of a player she is, we can say that she preferred Andrés Iniesta to Lionel Messi. And if that wasn’t enough, this probably is: “I play with number 23 because it is the number that my idol Christian Eriksen wears. I always watched him play.”
Name: Lieke Martens
Date of birth: 16 December 1992 (29)
Club: FC Barcelona
Profile: The face of the golden generation of Orange Lionesses that won the 2017 Euros. That year she was named the best player in Europe and became one of the most famous Dutch sportspeople which, if you are Lieke Martens, isn’t very good at all. She wants nothing to do with fame, it is akin to toothache to her. However, give Martens, who is getting married to former Ajax goalkeeper Benjamin van Leer, a ball and she is in her element. Her father loved Johan Cruyff so Barcelona was an obvious option for her when she left Swedish side Rosengård in 2017. “Cruyff is a legend, a true hero,” she told El País in 2017, “he did so much for our country around the world.” Ronaldinho was a favourite growing up and Martens was instrumental as Barcelona won the Champions League in 2021.
Name: Vivianne Miedema
Date of birth: 15 juli 1996 (25, turns 26 during the tournament)
Profile: A great player with a great stat: at the age of 18, Miedema already had 18 caps and 18 goals to her name. Not that she was going to stop there. At the time of writing she has 108 international games and 92 games. And absolute goal machine, she is also the all-time Women’s Super League record scorer with 64. There were rumours she was going to live Arsenal this summer but signed a new contract and told her club: “we need to do better”. Never goes abroad with the Lionesses without her toy bear Flip. He is seen as the whole team’s mascot now but one time he was left in a hotel. Miedema got in contact with the hotel and they found him, having been washed with the bed linen, and he was sent back to Miedema’s parents’ home. Has won so many individual awards but admitted that, for a long time, she did not know what GOAT meant. She told the Guardian in 2020: “Until a year ago I didn’t even know what GOAT [greatest of all time] meant, I was like: ‘It’s not really nice for people to call me a goat. It’s not the best animal to be.’
Name: Lineth Beerensteyn
Date of birth: 11 October 1996 (25)
Club: Bayern Munich
Profile: An incredibly quick winger who has won the battle to start on the right ahead of Shanice van de Sanden. Her parents are from Suriname, where her mother Linda was a well-known sprinter. Beerensteyn moved to Germany and Bayern from FC Twente at 20 and, having initially felt lonely, she settled well and won the Bundesliga in 2021. She is leaving Bavaria after five years at the club but at the time of writing the identity of her new club is not known. Loves to come up to visit her parents and eat her favourite soup – Soto Ayam – made by her mum Linda. As a toddler, Lineth told her mum that she wanted to become a footballer, but her mother did not think it was possible. “I said to her ‘but women don’t play football’. I didn’t know it was possible, I’d never heard of it.”
Name: Romée Leuchter
Date of birth: 12 January 2001 (21)
Profile: In hindsight it was quite a historic night in Caen on February 16, 2022. Leuchter made her international debut together with another huge prospect, Esmee Brugts, against Brazil but as they hugged after the game we did not think that they would both make Mark Parsons’ Euro squad. But here they are and in Leuchter’s case it means that her decision to move from PSV to Ajax in 2021 has paid off. Got into football at the age of four and has always had the look of someone who will make it to the top, but had to take a break in 2020 because of over-training. “I’ve been overtrained,” she told nti.nl. “That means I often had a high heart rate during training sessions and that I didn’t recover anymore. At one point it was so bad that they had to take me out of training. I had to have a long rest period to get better.” Has admitted that Barcelona would be a dream destination: “Who wouldn’t want to play football there?” she has said.
Name: Renate Jansen
Date of birth: 7 december 1990 (31)
Club: FC TwenteProfiel: And so Mark Parsons went for the experience of Jansen over her FC Twente teammate Fenna Kalma, who scored a remarkable 33 goals in 24 league games in 2021-22. Jansen, though, has pedigree and more than 50 caps, which is likely to have influenced the head coach’s thinking. No longer a starter, however, it feels a bit as if she is too big for the napkin but too small for the tablecloth. Has been with Twente since 2015, winning the league five times and being voted the league’s most valuable player on several occasions. Her career was launched at ADO Den Haag in 2012 – by the current England coach, Sarina Wiegman.
Name: Esmee Brugts
Date of birth: 28 July 2003 (18, turns 19 during tournament)
Club: PSV Eindhoven
Profile: A year ago the biggest talent of them all in Dutch women’s football was targeting the
Under-20 World Cup in Costa Rica but she can forget that tournament as she is going with the seniors to England. Since her debut for the Lionesses during the Tournoi de France in February the 18-year-old, who can play as a No10 or as a winger, has made such an impression that national coach Mark Parsons simply could not leave her out of the squad. She has Feyenoord blood running through her veins but chose PSV Eindhoven two years ago because the Rotterdammers did not have a team in the Eredivisie at the time. Is a mega-fan of Lieke Martens, a player she now hopes to shine with at the Euros.