9 minutes ago
OLDEBERKOOP Fifth division team Sport Vereent will play at home against BEW on Sunday. That the black and white kick off for a new football season was not a matter of course. Football in Oldeberkoop was about to collapse six months ago. “We were on the brink of death.”
It sounds dramatic, but according to chairman Jasper Derks, those were the facts. The selection was narrow and players dropped duels for the slightest thing. Sometimes trainer Renaldo Koopman had to put on the kicks himself due to a lack of reserves. Putting out of the second team was not an option, because there was no second at Sport Vereent. Sport Vereent finished last. Of the 22 matches, seventeen were lost, four drawn and only one won. “We play football for fun, but if you get to work almost every week, the atmosphere comes under pressure.
Several players decided to retire, which in turn was a reason for others to play elsewhere. “The board has considered putting an end to it. Sometimes we no longer had faith in it,” the chairman recalls. It was also a tricky situation. Renaldo Koopman had quit and how do you get a new trainer if you can’t guarantee that there are enough players? “And how do you persuade players to continue if you don’t have a coach. We had nothing to offer.”
Help came from an unexpected source. Former player Jan de Jong, and father of first-team player Tygo, saw the developments with concern. He approached young Oldeber buyers, including friends of his son, who had stopped playing football, with the request to put their shoulders back under Sport Vereent. De Jong’s initiative was successful and provided the board with enough commitments to make concrete plans for the new season.
After a difficult search, a successor for Koopman was found in Barry Nijenhuis. Nijenhuis will be working with a selection of 21 men next season. “That is luxury by our standards.” The chairman is pleased that the survival of Sport Vereent has been saved, but realizes that the recent success is no guarantee for the longer term.
That is why talks have started about cooperation with regional clubs Olyphia, Zandhuizen and Oosterstreek. “We are already doing that with our youth teams. It is complex, we may even need new accommodation, but we would rather go together today than tomorrow.” The intended merger partners are also having a hard time, the chairman knows. “Zandhuizen only has a second team and a 7-against-7 team.” Derks does not dare to predict anything about the chances of success of the collaboration. “We also have to deal with two municipalities.”
Whatever the case may be: Sport Vereent will be playing football again on Sunday. “We have a nice selection, a good mix of young and old. Our preparation offers hope for a better season. A place in the middle bracket would be nice. We don’t lie awake in Oldeberkoop because of a defeat, but winning every now and then makes football a lot more fun.”