Edam-Volendam, Landsmeer, Purmerend and Waterland news
The term “soccer” won’t immediately ring a bell with most people. However, this sport, which spread from America, is making great progress in Holland. Gilles Odejan, who has only been playing for three seasons, recently made his debut for the Netherlands national team during an international tournament organized in Utrecht. “It was a very special experience,” he says. Bart Werdenburg photo: Gil Odejans with the Dutch Lions.
The rules of play in Flag Football are similar to the popular game American Football, but it is less physical and is played on a much smaller field. Instead of strong tackles or punches to the shoulder, the player can finish off the opponent by taking the bar or flag. As the sport is less demanding than American football or rugby, it is also much more accessible. “I myself had a knee injury on the soccer field, which made it impossible to continue with it. When I started experimenting with Flag Football, I immediately noticed that it suited me well.” Gil tells about his early days.
Together with his Monkeys With Attitude team, Gilles became the Dutch champion last month. The Friends team, consisting of players from Purmerend, Amsterdam, Utrecht, but also from England, comes under the Purmerend Barbarians license. After a long twelve-year run, The Hague Hyenas’ winning streak has finally come to an end and Monkeys With Attitude have been allowed to lift the trophy this year. Which is a remarkable achievement for a team that was assembled just a few years ago.
Along with the Dutch Lions, Gilles managed to beat a French team during the King Bowl event that took place the last weekend in April. Gill and his team also came close to beating a strong second team from England. The next major European tournament will take place on June 10, the 15th edition of the German Big Bowl. In August, the European Flag Football Championship will be held in Ireland, which, of course, will also attend the European Summit.
“It would be great if the sport gets more attention and more people try it out, including children.” says Gill, who was also a gym teacher. “We’ll see how far the Dutch Lions can go. It’s always a great challenge to play against strong teams.” Upcoming tournaments can be followed via live broadcast on YouTube.
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