He played only one international match after the consolation final of the World Cup in India. The zeperd against Australia in the Pro League. Yet Seve van Ass (31) is physically almost at war strength. He made his first meters in preparation for the European Championship not in the Netherlands, but in Canada.
Because there he combined a holiday with his girlfriend with participation in the Canada Cup. A tournament in Vancouver where dozens of major league players were active. He played for the West Coast Kings for a weekend, just like his compatriots Sheldon Schouten, Jeroen Hertzberger and Gijs Campbell.
A special experience. One that he also took on in 2012, but this edition was mainly a test whether he can handle the European Championship in about three weeks. ‘We started with the Orange this week, but I had already had my first hockey muscle pain,’ says Van Ass. ‘I saw the Canada Cup as a kind of head start . A small head start to make it easier to enter.’
Eight weeks without ball and stick
Because Van Ass has actually not touched a stick in the past eight weeks. At the end of April he injured his hamstring while visiting Den Bosch. Since then, the midfielder has been recovering. Especially with a view to the Pro League, which started in June. He was eager to join Orange and all signals seemed to be green.
‘The first block in Eindhoven was a bit on the edge’, the 210-time international looks back. “I was not going to play those four games at first. Jip Janssen was supposed to play, but his finger was still bothering him too much. I seemed fit and the training sessions went well, so Jeroen Delmée called on me. That one game against Australia went well until just before half-time, until it hit my hamstring again after a sprint.’
Not a tear this time, but a strain. But it is the end of the Pro League season. ‘I was in the gym, training in a small group or working on my running schedule, while the rest played matches. That was frustrating. I may be 31 years old, but I still want to be on the field. Have fun with that ball. Rehabilitation is not for me.’
‘Canada was the test for the Orange’
And for that reason he accepted the request from Canada. Every year he gets the question, but it never fits into his busy schedule. But this time. “It’s such an amazing experience, I would recommend it to any player who wants to go on an adventure.” But before boarding the plane, he discussed his idea with the Orange staff. ‘We decided together that it couldn’t hurt. It was the test before I would join the Orange again.’
“The tournament is really fun,” the veteran continues. ‘The level is of course a bit less. There are quite good players within the lines, but they come from all over the world. So without training and huge discussions, it’s a bit of chaos in the field.’
‘Can’t wait to join again’
Without muscle pain, he completed his first moments with the Orange this week. On Sunday he will board the plane with the selection to Spain, where Delmée’s group will play a four-country tournament (against Spain, India and England) in Terrassa. Van Ass can’t wait to get into action.
‘I have to show where I stand’, he says. ‘I have a good feeling. I’m comfortable in it. But I’m not at my top level yet. I’ve been standing still for eight weeks, so I still have a while to go,’ he continues. ‘ I enjoyed watching Orange. Certainly the last two games of the Pro League against Belgium. Compliments to those guys, but I can’t wait to participate myself again.’