“A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever”
29 / 08 / 1998
Sport / discipline
(Rugbyclub ‘t Gooi, Dutch National Team)
I was born in Spain and lived in France until I was nine. However it is in the Netherlands that my rugby career started. I had tried a lot of other sports before, from football to fencing and from swimming to judo. My father, who still lives in France, had always been a big rugby fan and we used to watch rugby every weekend but it wasn’t until one of my friends from school took me to a ‘bring your friend’-day at Rugby Club ’t Gooi that I tried rugby. I was hooked straight away and it rugby has been my passion ever since.
Besides from rugby, I got my VWO diploma at het Goois Lyceum. My parents have always emphasised that academic achievements were more important than sports. So worked hard to ensure I would have a plan B if rugby would not work out. My rugby career really started when I got a letter from the union saying that I was invited to join the National U16 team. Being named captain of the team I moved up through the U17s to the U18s where we came second in the Rugby Europe U18 Trophy.
In my last year of school I was accepted to join the NTC (National Training Center). Here, a group of 30 of the best players of the country trained together four days a week. This year made me realise that I really wanted to chase my dream and try to play rugby professionally somewhere. This dream almost became reality in the summer when I went to two professional rugby clubs in France for trials. Unfortunately I was not offered a contract in either club.
At this point I felt glad that my parents had always insisted on the importance of education. After those two disappointments in France, I decided to stay in the Netherlands to study and try to claim a spot in the first team of RC ’t Gooi. Besides that I was still part of the NTC. This year was filled with enormous highs and deep, deep lows. I was honoured to get my first ‘cap’ (selection) for the Dutch national team agains Switzerland. I was also selected to go the Rugby Europe U20 Championship with the Dutch U20 team and with RC ’t Gooi we made it to the final of the national championship, which we, sadly, lost. However I had dislocated my shoulder a couple of times and was forced to have surgery at the end of the season. After that, I was rushed into surgery a second time and hospitalised for over a month because of an infection after the first surgery.
After a long 8 months of rehab I made it back just in time to play the Rugby Europe U20 Championships again. We made Dutch history by beating Romania for the first time and ending up 4th, which had never been done before. We also became national champion with RC ’t Gooi. Despite this, I was in for more bad luck. It turned out that the infection had not been completely eradicated and I needed another surgery. I was forced to stay in hospital for over a month once again to get rid of the infection completely. After another 8 months of rehab I made it back to the field to play a couple of games with RC ’t Gooi. We made it to the final again, but we lost. I was happy though, leaving a lot of bad times behind me.
The next year started really well. I made it back to the national team winning the Rugby Europe Trophy and I was even given the captaincy of RC ’t Gooi for a couple of games. I even got asked to join a national youth team coaching staff, having gotten the opportunity to get my trainers diploma’s during my injuries. However, I dislocated my other shoulder and was forced to get surgery yet again if I wanted to continue playing rugby. After a long thought I decided to have the surgery and not give up. At this moment I am almost finished with another 8 months of rehab, hoping to be able to pay rugby again and leaving dark times behind me.
The partnership with Victus will hopefully help me to realise my goals of playing rugby at the highest level again. After 4 surgeries, more than 2 months in hospital and 24+ months of rehab I am dedicated to not give up, leave all that behind and give it my all on the field, for club and country. I am very grateful that Victus wants to support me on my journey.