Netherlands: Veenendaal 100 Not Out

Anne Veenendaal was in goal for thirty minutes during her hundredth international match for the Orange Ladies against New Zealand (4-1 win) on Saturday. In those two quarters, the 27-year-old jubilee only got one ball between the posts. The fact that that high ball also went in via Hannah Cotter’s stick was sour and a blot on her anniversary. “But the beautiful feeling prevails.”

Veenendaal knows better than anyone after a hundred international matches that as a goalie of the Orange Ladies you get little or nothing to do. ‘Even in semi-finals and finals of a World Cup, that is a maximum of three balls,’ says Veenendaal. That’s nice, because the Orange Ladies win almost all their matches, but sometimes it’s a pity if you have to defend the goal. Veenendaal: ‘I would like to have more opportunities to distinguish myself. But I’m used to getting a few balls by now. Then you have to stand there. Over the years we have developed ways to ensure that we are sharp at those moments.’

That ‘we’ refers, of course, to her and Josine Koning, who have been the permanent Orange duo under the bar with the Orange Ladies for years. They keep the games together. For a while they changed bench and goal per quarter, under national coach Paul van Ass per half. King started against New Zealand and Veenendaal kept the last two quarters. ‘I think if you ask Josine, she prefers to keep whole matches, just like me. And of course we both want to be the regular first keeper. But I honestly think I like doing this together. We just have two very good goalkeepers. We don’t know yet how things will go at the European Championship. Maybe together or maybe a first keeper, we’ll see.’

A hug from Josine Koning. Photo: William Vernes
A hug from Josine Koning. Photo: William Vernes

Inclusion in hockey sport

On Saturday in and around the Pro League game with New Zealand, all eyes were on the jubilee. “I’ve been reminded of the anniversary all day. Everyone gets messages, everyone is talking about it and I got six times as many hugs.’

Being in the spotlight isn’t quite her thing. But she certainly does not run away from it, as she showed again on Saturday when the Netherlands and New Zealand made a statement in advance about equality and inclusion in hockey. A subject that is close to the heart of Veenendaal, who has had a relationship with the Irish Ayeisha McFerran for many years. Because of that connection and because it was her anniversary, roommate Xan de Waard asked whether she, as captain, but Veenendaal wanted to read the statement to the thousands in a full Wagener Stadium. “I thought it was very nice that she asked me that.”

Veenendaal recite the statement in a full Wagener. Photo: William Vernes
Veenendaal recite the statement in a full Wagener. Photo: William Vernes

The goalie made an impression during the speech.

‘I think hockey should be for everyone’, says Veenendaal afterwards in the catacombs of the Wagener. “I have been committed to this for years. I see that we are making strides in that as a sport. I thought it was fantastic to see that Australia’s first man (Davis Atkin, ed.) has come out that he is gay and that he is welcomed with open arms by his teammates. I know that my team is doing well. That I can build on that. I’m glad we can spread that message to the rest of the world.’

Afterwards, Veenendaal was accompanied by former Orange goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek, who worked as a volunteer in Wagener. Joyce just told me how great it is to get a hundred international matches as a goalkeeper. She has 117 caps. I am therefore proud that I have reached this number. I don’t have a target number in mind. I’ll keep going as long as I like it and I can physically handle it.’


Veenendaal experienced this season how thin the line as a top athlete can be in terms of fitness, when she was sidelined for a while due to a nasty knee injury. However, the keeper was fit in time to take the national title with Amsterdam. She didn’t have a rest after the play-offs, she immediately rolled into the longest Pro League series ever. ‘I think it’s super fun. Because I missed so much in the winter period, I enjoy every match I can play.’

Anne Veenendaal: 'Because I missed so much in the winter period, I enjoy every game I can play.' Photo: William Vernes
Anne Veenendaal: ‘Because I missed so much in the winter period, I enjoy every game I can play.’ Photo: William Vernes

Veenendaal also enjoys the atmosphere within Oranje. ‘We have such a nice group of girls, I get a lot of energy from that. At the trip in London last week we were with a number of new people. I like how easily they flow in and how fantastic they are doing. It’s nice that we can rely on that in this group.’

by Hockey.nl

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