Dutch student enjoys soccer adventure in the US: ‘It’s like a movie’ |  RTL News

Dutch student enjoys soccer adventure in the US: ‘It’s like a movie’ | RTL News

Mathijs Swaneveld played in the youth team of Sparta, but in the end did not get a contract there. He ended up in America via the Dutch company Kingstalent, where he has now been playing for Virginia Tech for three years.

Swanfield combines studying economics with playing football at a high level. Virginia Tech is one of the best teams in the country and the facilities are excellent. “I have nothing to complain about here,” says the 21-year-old goalkeeper in a chat with VTBL.

to have fun

Sports are taken very seriously on American college campuses. Swaneveld hopes to eventually achieve success as a professional soccer player through school. His predecessor Ben Lundgaard has proven that opportunity is real, and is now under contract with Frank de Boer’s Atlanta United.

But before a potential professional adventure begins, Dutch is particularly enjoying his life as a football player at the University of Virginia. “I’m having a great time here. It’s a beautiful school and the people here are great. As a foreign student you will be welcomed with open arms.”


There is currently a lot of uproar in America about the topic of racism. Swanfield himself experienced little of this, neither at school nor on the field. “To be honest, I had never experienced it in three years. I lived with three black men for the first year and a half and I once asked them if they had tried it, and they had not. But I think it is a real problem in other parts of America.” .

Student life

American movies and series often show athletes hooking up with one woman after another at school, but in reality it seems to be no different. “Girls here find it very interesting when there is a foreign boy around. If you are also an athlete then you are in the right place haha.

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Swaneveld thoroughly enjoys student life in America. “Americans will take any reason to celebrate. Here it is mainly house parties and parties with two to three hundred people at home are no exception. There’s a party every weekend.”

Despite playing the best sports, no one has any problems with partying. “The coaches are fine with it. When we win they often say: ‘Guys, enjoy the win and stay out of trouble. Don’t get caught.’ As long as they don’t know everything, that’s okay. “This sport is played seriously, but we are students, not professional footballers.”

Image © Virginia Tech

Football and school

Anyone who thinks the young goalkeeper is just celebrating is wrong. There is intense training seven days a week. “The class schedule is created around your training schedule. It is very different from what we are used to in the Netherlands. There are 30,000 people in school here. It cannot be compared to student life in the Netherlands.

Sports are very important in American schools, especially with elite sports. Some studies say nothing about this and half of them can be found online. Although most of the studies are of good quality and quite challenging, if you are good at sports and less good at learning, choose a simple study and do it yourself. In my opinion, this diploma is worth a little less than in the Netherlands.

Players on the American football team in particular are not known for being very smart. “There are a hundred guys on the football team and if I’m really honest, most of them are not very smart. They are very good at sports and then they do a little studying on the side. You really have to try your best and then fail.”

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Virginia Tech goes to campusImage © Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech goes to campus


As an athlete, you want for nothing at Virginia Tech. “I think only Ajax, Eindhoven and Feyenoord can keep up with the facilities we have. We have everything. For example, there is a bar where we can get healthy food and we have a weight room on two floors. It’s strange.”

In August, Swanfield will begin his final season at Virginia Tech, then hopes to prove himself and take the step toward the professional world. “My coach has already introduced me to an agent, but I haven’t spoken to any club yet. I just want to do it during this season.”

Standing out shouldn’t be an issue, because everything is broadcast and seen in America. “A separate network was recently created for our competition, and the school invested thirty million in it. Ridiculous amounts, but ideal for us.”


The goalkeeper has just one piece of advice for high-level Dutch athletes who are not sure about taking the step. “Action! If you get the chance you should always do it. The experience is great.”

To get an idea of ​​what it’s like to study in America, just watch Netflix. “It’s not literally like in the movies, but 90% it is actually like that. I only watched the movies and after the first night out I knew it was right. The image you see in the films is real.

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