Loes Geurts - Netherlands
My name is Loes Geurts. I am a goalkeeper, 33 years old. I started playing football when I was 6. I have four older brothers and three of them played football at that time, so for me there was no doubt which sport I wanted to play when I got to choose. I have been a goalkeeper since I was 7 because I liked the position immediately. During my youth I have also played in other positions but my favourite position has always been goalkeeper. I played with boys until I was 18 years old and became fully professional at the age of 26 when I moved to Sweden to play. I have played in several countries before that, like USA, Germany and obviously the Netherlands. I have played 122 games for the Dutch national team so far and have been part of 3 European championships and this summer it will be my second World Cup. At the moment I play for a club in Gothenburg and I intend to continue as long as my body can cope with the training intensity - and as long as I have fun playing!
Who is in the photos? Where were the photos taken?
I showed my teammates of Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, taken at Valhalla IP (our home pitch) - and also at Växjö Arena.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
I wanted to show our team spirit. We are all very different people but still a tight group as a football team. We have the same goals and always make this circle before games with the whole team. Our captain says a few words and then we have a yell. In this circle before the game you feel the excitement and ‘ready-ness' of the girls. It gives a good feeling of belonging to the team. This is what football is, a team sport, working together, tight, as in this circle, we can lean on each other.
Our sprinkler system doesn't always work as it should, which gives very funny moments. This time we had an important training so everybody stayed focused on the game and continued to play. Luckily it was good weather that day so the girls could use some refreshment!
Our field is in the middle of the city of Gothenburg. You see the beautiful 'Gothia Towers' in the background, and even the Ferris wheel of the amusement park, which is right behind the towers. It is a beautiful surroundings to train in every day.
At home we are always in the shade on the bench, where it can be very cold. We complain about that so for a moment we were happy we were sitting in the sun this time. The temperature was very nice, but as soon as the game started we realised we had a problem. We couldn't see anything with the sun in our faces! Our arms were getting tired of holding up our hands to block the sun; we came up with this sun blocking solution!
There was a game at our home pitch. It was a beautiful day in the sun. The players were sweating but on the bench we were freezing in the shade and a chilly wind was blowing at the same time. It made the contrast of playing and being a reserve even bigger.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
Women’s football is getting more professional in many countries. Associations and federations and companies are putting more money in to it to make it more professional. With this money, girls don't have to work on the side anymore and can put all their energy in training to become a better player. The level increases and with that also the interest of the people to watch, and with that the interest of companies to sponsor even more. It's an upwards spiral in many countries at the moment.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football means a lot to me. It has shaped me into the person I am today. It taught me discipline, respect, teamwork, perseverance and fun. My message to young players: Play for the fun and love for the game. Play with passion, and learn from your mistakes. That way dreams can be realised.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Netherlands?
The opportunities for female footballers in the Netherlands have become a lot bigger. You can be a professional football player in the Netherlands, but also make transfers to almost any other country (with women's football) in the world. The female game has become a lot more accepted and respected over the past 10-15 years, which has made a lot more possible.
What is the future for Dutch women's football?
The future for Dutch women's football is bright. It develops (sometimes) slowly, but definitely surely. There are more and more girls playing the game, which provides more and more talent, which gives more and more quality. As long as our national team keeps acting on a global platform (by participating in major tournaments), the development will go faster.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I think there will be an even bigger acceptance for the women's game after the WWC 2019. More people than ever before will have been in contact with the sport in some way, which will bring more acceptance. Ultimately the acceptance will make the game bigger.
What does your family think of your job as a professional soccer player?
My family is very proud of my career and me - and has always supported me fully.
What’s one thing you always do before a game?
I always look in the mirror before the game to see that I am ready.