Science - June 8, 2006

Soccer lovers warm up for World Cup

Many soccer players can’t go for long without kicking a ball around. Certainly not now, as World Cup fever rises. Several international students spend time on the soccer fields at the Bongerd, some join the GVC club and others just visit the training practice for sports cardholders. Wb sounded out their love for soccer.

The air is full of sports sounds on a weeknight at the Bongerd university sports centre (USB): sharp whistles, bouncing tennis balls and an occasional yell. On the small soccer field about ten students are trying to kick a ball into a very small goal. USB trainer Johan Puijn watches them. ‘It’s always very friendly,’ he comments. ‘In general Dutch students focus more on teamwork, and international students on individual moves. But when it comes down to it on the field, football is a great leveller.’

Jerome Durand from France runs around in a black shirt with the initials ASLO: ‘It stands for Association de sport et loisir d’Osmoy, where I come from.’ Jerome is doing an internship at Plant Breeding. Before he came to Wageningen he inquired about the possibilities for playing soccer. ‘I like soccer so much that I definitely wanted to continue playing, so I bought a sports card.’ The nice thing is that he’s made friends through soccer. ‘But I miss playing in the competition.’ He usually plays in goal. ’I’m not strong enough in the field.’ He is definitely going to watch the World Cup. ‘I live at the Binnenhaven, and I hope we’ll watch a lot of matches together.’ In his heart he hopes for a French victory, ‘But to be honest, I think Brazil and England have more chance. The Dutch may make it to the semi-finals.’

Martin Baruffol from Colombia has no team to cheer for, as his country didn’t qualify for the World Cup. ‘It was a pity we lost the final match against Uruguay. I also think Brazil could win, but I’m not sure. When the World Cup has been played in Europe, it has usually been won by a European country.’

Martin came last August to do a master’s in Landscape Architecture and Planning. Already in the introduction period he started looking for a way to keep playing soccer. ‘At home I played with the faculty team. I joined the GVC club because I like to play matches. That way you have the opportunity to see if you’re really a team.’ The GVC club is open to both students and non-students, and students with a sports card get a discount on the membership fee.

‘It’s nice to play with people from different backgrounds. You get another feeling of living in a different country.’ Martin advises others to join: ‘It’s a nice way to represent the university and you meet new people.’ Martin is unlucky: his corridor mates don’t like the game. ‘I’ll probably find someone to watch with, although I mustn’t watch all games as I also have to study.’ During the summer he won’t stop playing either. GVC training sessions continue through June, and in July players meet informally. The new season starts in August. / YdH

For more information www2.wau.nl/gvc

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