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January 20, 2021

Nell Van Dijck – Oud Heverlee Leuven: Interview

Nell Van Dijck OHL

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Nell Van Dijck

Current club: Oud Heverlee Leuven
Previous Club: RWL
Birthday: 23/05/2005

Very early on, Nell left the dolls for what they were and it was the ball that made her heart beat faster as a 4-year-old. As it was still a year too early to start playing competitive football, it was just for fun at home in the garden. When it was finally allowed, it did not take long to think about it. No ballet or gymnastics, it would be football. It took a few years before Nell Van Dijck found her way to the goal (as a goalkeeper that is). Only when the U10 goalie fell out and her team had to look for another solution, Nell decided to help her team and replaced the absent goalie. That she was doing a good job was noticed by more people and she got the chance to develop this more and more. One moment, one choice, but to this day she hasn’t regretted it for one second.

One of the big favourites is Thibaut Courtois. Our national goalkeeper has had a brilliant career so far. He can read the game like no other. And even though he often gets negative comments from the media, he continues to guide and encourage his team in difficult circumstances. You often hear in the corridors of football that great goalkeepers have it easy with high crosses or corner kicks. Despite his stature, he has an excellent reflex and is quick to the ground. Manuel Neuer is also a world-class goalkeeper. Many people envy him for the way he can play and sometimes just be counted as an extra field player. Nell, on the other hand, envies Neuer mainly for the way, the guts with which he dares to play at that level.

Nell Van Dijck would describe herself as a goalkeeper as someone who keeps encouraging her team and tries to coach a lot. In the beginning, as a goalkeeper you are sometimes afraid to coach your team. Maybe this is because we are afraid of coaching in the wrong way. You need to have some experience and know the way your coach wants to play football in order to coach your team in the right way. This will certainly come through in the years, but every goalkeeper should dare to do this more. You as a goalkeeper have the whole game in front of you and therefore see more than your fellow players. 

In today’s football, you have to be an extra fielder, just like Neuer, and always offer yourself as an extra point of attack when your teammates are having a hard time.

A goalkeeper must of course do what he is doing on the field. Keeping as many balls out of the net as possible, but let’s be honest: modern football has changed a lot. In the past, and of course still today, we are presented with weekly youtube videos of world events that happened the previous weekend or year. Nice for the supporters, but the trainers, scouts and clubs don’t just look at that. You have to be a complete goalkeeper nowadays. Also one who is good with her feet and has a good head to function within the players’ group. 

At Nell Van Dijck’s young age, you can’t speak of a “career” yet, of course, but she is proud of what she has been able to experience today with her favourite sport. The road is still long and she will have to work hard. The fact that Nell is in the top sport school from this year onwards is only an incentive to keep working hard to make her dreams come true. Fortunately, she has a character that fights and works for what she wants. She realises better than anyone that it will not fall into her lap.

Every goalkeeper or player has a ritual that he or she does over and over again before the match. For some girls it has become such a habit that they don’t even notice the same routine before every match. For Nell personally, the preparation starts from the moment they board the players’ bus. A quiet place for her alone so she can enjoy some music and relive some of the past games in her mind. Not only to analyse the bad things, but also to repeat the good things.

Usually around 2 to 4 pairs per year. Of course, this number will be a bit higher from this year on, because of the extra training sessions at the top sports school.

Adidas and Reusch

Prostar Goalkeeping is always looking for ambassadors who fit a profile to market the brand. These are goalkeepers and women who know how to translate the quality of the gloves on the field. Fortunately, Nell Van Dijck was also willing to promote the brand on the Belgian women’s football fields.

Of course, a good proposal is not everything. At this level, you can have a good proposal if the quality is not good enough. Fortunately Nell feels good with the Prostar goalkeeper gloves and they have an excellent grip.

Maintaining focus for 90 minutes and sometimes longer is not always easy. You have little work, get cold hands or feet, the heat strikes. These are only a few of the elements that you as a goalkeeper will ever have to deal with. However, you need to learn to cope with this at the moment and keep your focus on the game, because just when you are not paying attention or your focus is lost, chances are they will be there to test you. 

People forget quickly, as a goalkeeper it is no different. When you manage to avoid 20 goals, but do something wrong in the very last minute, they will keep repeating this, unfortunately, and there will be little mention of the goals you did manage to save. That is perhaps one of the most difficult points for a goalkeeper. Trying to give the comments a place so that the next game you can show again what you are capable of.

Above all, stay yourself and even if things are not going so well, try not to give up. Think about why you wanted to become a goalkeeper and why you prefer training over going out with friends. You do this because you love being in goal and because you want to be a goalkeeper “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” my dad always says and that is true. I have had setbacks myself, but by not giving up and by working to achieve your goals, you will get there.

Which models did he choose?

Nell does not hesitate and chooses the best affordable quality available on the market. No compromise on quality or price. Among other things, she chose the following models. Do you also want to work with these professional goalkeeper gloves?

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