Joey Veerman: ‘We have to continue to act normally’

Joey Veerman: ‘We have to continue to act normally’
Joey Veerman: ‘We have to continue to act normally’

He won the KNVB Cup with PSV, made his debut for the Dutch national team and became the father of son Frenkie. Joey Veerman (24) had a year full of highlights. The midfielder is regularly the subject of conversation on TV talk shows, but has not been shy about himself. “My parents sometimes say: maybe you shouldn’t be so honest in front of the camera.”

‘Everyone will say it’s part of it, but it’s just childish. Players who get into each other’s throats, push each other as they run away… I just don’t like that. Then people will say that I’m a fair-weather footballer, but it’s just annoying,” Joey Veerman said in front of the ESPN camera after the KNVB Cup final won with penalties against Ajax in April this year. The final was overshadowed by riots, irritations and incidents. Joey wasn’t afraid to speak his mind immediately after the game. Joey looks back on it with us: “The week before we won 3-0 against Ajax. The following week – they had also indicated this in the media – they wanted to do it in a different way. I don’t think that was the right way, but it wasn’t right on our part either, we went along with it.”

Of course, football players have an exemplary role, Joey agrees. “There are all sorts of things being shouted at us from the stands. For us, at such a moment it is of course simply about the price. Things get tough sometimes, and I think that’s only logical.” Despite the course of the cup final, Joey looks back on it with a good feeling. “It was definitely a highlight of the year. Winning a prize is always fun. That never gets boring.”

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Joey often tells what he thinks. A week before the end of the competition, trainer Ruud van Nistelrooij resigned. He indicated in a statement that he felt that there was too little capacity and support from PSV to continue longer. The reason? Probably a message The Telegraph in which it was suggested that some players had entered into discussions with the management to express their dissatisfaction with Van Nistelrooij. There was wild speculation about Joey: he was said to be the ‘leak’. The result? Threats to him. After the 2-1 victory over AZ in the last league match of the season, Joey vented to NOS.

‘It is unbelievable. I receive all kinds of threats, my entire family by the way. My agent is supposedly the leak. He is also threatened. It can’t be filmed, I’m really pissed off about this week. Many things have been said and written. I’m a little surprised about that. It was just a shit week.” And: ‘I will hopefully become a father in fifteen weeks. My girlfriend had posted a photo on social media with an ultrasound. There will then be all kinds of reactions and they are not pleasant. All crazy messages. The football world really is a shit world.’

Joey: “At that moment I really thought the football world was a shit world and then I said that.”

Are you the last footballer in the Netherlands who dares to honestly say what he thinks?
“Yes, together with Henk Veerman. I think Michiel Kramer is also honest. But yes, I am a bit younger than those two, so perhaps I am the only one of my generation who still dares to say something.”

Have you become more conservative in what you say this year because of what happened?
“No. I know that everything I say will be widely reported. Even after those threats I don’t think: I remain calmer. You know, you can call me an asshole or say I have a big mouth, but we have to keep acting normal. Sending death wishes makes no sense at all.”

‘I know that everything I say is widely reported. Even after that threat I don’t think: I’ll keep calmer’

Did you get that honesty from home?
“No, that’s in my character. My parents sometimes say: ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be so honest in front of the camera, but keep yourself a little calmer.’ You know, after the match I just have a lot of adrenaline, then I say what I think and think. If that is no longer possible, then we might as well stop.”


Joey is a native Volendammer, born and raised in the fishing village. At the age of four he started playing football at RKAV Volendam, two years later he switched to the youth academy of FC Volendam, which he went all the way through. “As a little boy I was only busy playing football with friends and teammates. After matches we just continued playing football. But I also had time for other things, you know.”

His father played handball in the Volendam first team, Joey chose football. “My grandfather and father always played football with me, they didn’t play handball with me. The other side of the family played football, but not at a high level. I don’t know who gave me the talent, I developed it myself, I think. I also played school handball for a while. When I was in the D1 at Volendam, I was asked if I wanted to join the handball club.”

Joey has an older sister, Charmaine. “She used to play handball, but has now stopped, she now just works out in the gym.” Was Joey also a bit of a Sunday child? “In terms of football, it certainly came to me. I completed pre-vocational secondary education, but I never opened a book. In that respect, there could have been more in it, but I still knew that I wanted to become a professional footballer and that I would make it. What if I hadn’t become one? Then I would now be working in the fishmonger or construction.” Laughing: “You can’t go in more directions in Volendam.”

In September 2016, Joey made his debut in the first team. Kees Kwakman, former FC Volendam player and friend of Joey, said earlier Football International: ‘I had seen him training and heard a lot about him. That it was good, didn’t fall flat, but maybe didn’t get everything out of it either. So I walked up to him once. I said: if you look at the first one now, do you think you are less than such and such a midfielder? His response: “No, I don’t think so.” Then I told him that in that case he should make sure he stood there. He was seventeen years old then. I wanted to excite him, tickle him a little.’

Joey: “I actually said that and Kees certainly stimulated me. Shortly afterwards I was allowed to go to a training camp with the first team. Then Kees saw that I could handle the level. Within six weeks, as a seventeen-year-old, I was in the starting line-up at Volendam and I never left.”

The first part of the story of Joey Veerman comes from the double end-of-year issue of Helden. The last edition of 2023 is traditionally dedicated to a look back on the past sporting year, on which Femke Bol decorates the cover. The athlete looks back in detail on the year in which everything she touched seemed to turn into gold.

Helden also visited England Nathan Ake, who won the league title, FA Cup and Champions League with Manchester City. He was interviewed and photographed together with his wife Kaylee, with whom he has been together since he was fifteen. The visit to the Schippers family. Dafne said goodbye to athletics and together with her parents, sister and brother she looked back on her impressive career.

In the 69ste edition of Heroes, numerous athletes who gave color to 2023 will have their say. Wout Poels looks back on stage victories in the Tour and Vuelta, but also on the loss of teammate Gino Mäder. Golden Sisters Bente and Lieke Rogge became world water polo champions together. Femke Kok crowned herself the first Dutch world champion in the 500 meters and shows herself in a way we have never seen her before. Karolien and Finn Florijn are blessed with great rowing genes, they both won World Cup gold; a double interview. Jeffrey Hoogland is king of the kilometer. He became world champion at ‘his’ distance for the fourth time and improved the world record. A candid conversation with the mileage eater.

Sailors packed further Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken a hat-trick of world titles. Speaking of sailing: Marit Bouwmeester returned after giving birth to her daughter in 2022 and immediately became European champion again. Feyenoord also became champions Lutsharel Geertruida had an important part in this.

Also a story about it Lionel Messi and the club he moved to last summer, David Beckham’s Inter Miami. A portrait of Carlos Alcarazthe new poster boy of tennis who beat Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon in the match of the year. And finally it was for skating coach Kosta Poltavets and football coach Anoush Dastgir a difficult year, due to the situation in their native countries, Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Would you like to read the entire issue? Purchase Heroes Magazine 69 via our webshop. Don’t want to miss inspiring sports stories from our Dutch sports heroes? Choose the subscription that suits you and become a subscriber.

The article is in Dutch

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