He didn’t want to play hockey at all. In fact, he was even a bit disappointed about it. Raphael de Goeij (14) lived in Paris for the first eight years of his life. He played football at a good level. But when he moved to the Netherlands with his family, he couldn’t find a football club. So he took up hockey. ‘And yes, I am very happy with that now.’
The captain of Little Switzerland has to laugh when he thinks back to that time. While he has just handed over the bowl of the national championship to his teammates. He really wanted to play football. Was pretty good at it. Even had big football dreams. But there was no place for De Goeij in the whole of The Hague and surrounding areas. Everything was completely full. So he decided to choose hockey. Second best in that case. He tried. And with success.
Because there is now a gold medal around De Goeij’s neck. The fourteen-year-old playmaker beams with pride. ‘Last year we were also in the final. Then we played against HDM. And things went wrong. Now we can do it. That really is what we deserve,” he says. Indeed. Earned wages in a positive sense.
KZ captain Raphael de Goeij in action. Photo: Willem Vernes
Football boots on the water field
During the very first training on the field of Little Switzerland, De Goeij – then about nine years old – appeared in football boots. With studs that will not make any water field happy. He didn’t know any better. ‘I had never played hockey before. Just did whatever,’ he reflects. ‘Did I mention how happy I am that I chose hockey?’
I could hardly sleep last night. Had so many nerves. I thought a lot about how I was going to push corners. Raphael de Goeij
De Goeij tries to keep calm during the interview, just after winning the final. But his voice, which occasionally cracks, reveals his enthusiasm. ‘I could hardly sleep last night. I had so many nerves. I thought a lot about how I was going to push corners.’
That was wise, because in the semi-final against Gooische (4-2 win) the corner shooter pushed in the first goal. In the final he scored another from the edge of the circle. “Isn’t it unbelievable,” he stammers. ‘We completely missed it today. During the final my tensions were also gone. It felt so good.’
De Goeij beams with pride. Photo: Willem Vernes
And who knows, maybe that had something to do with the preparation of the third-year gymnasium student. He was still busy for school on Friday evening. He was working on a project with his classmates for his best subject: French. And then opted for a special supper. ‘Pasta and a little sushi. Actually the pasta was just for me. You should eat that when you exercise. But I couldn’t resist the sushi.’
“This is the best prize ever,” the captain concludes, while waving to his parents, sister, grandfather and grandmother in the stands. “We’re going to party in the locker room,” he says. But a national festival does not break out with the Capricorns. No matter how beautiful the euphoria is, school awaits on Monday. ‘I have a test week. I still have so much to learn. But I’ll probably do better than last week. I feel really great.’
Watch the JO14 final here!