For the first time in Ajax history this season Ajax will compete in the BeNe league with a women’s team. New league, new team, new opportunity’s and the chance for letting dreams come true.
In this blog I will give you some more information about this new team because with the name Ajax you get a lot of attention and if you are in this team you must be good player right? Also I will give you a look at how the first game was.
So where do we start? Why not earlier Ajax? Women’s football is so attractive in the Netherlands. Over 125.000 girls and women are playing football at the moment in this football country. Well it has been in Ajax mind to start a women’s team but it wasn’t the right time yet. So a few months ago it was the right time! Marleen Molenaar was named as the team manager. She worked at AZ before so she knew the world she was working in. Assistant coach of the Dutch National team Ed Engelkes was named as the coach, so plenty of experience there.
The first signings were Dutch National team captina Daphne Koster, saying this was a dream come true and this was also what Anouk Hoogendijk said when she signed with Ajax. Petra Hogewoning also a member of the Dutch team left Germany to come play in Amsterdam. And with those 3 players a bunch of players from other Eredivisie teams signed with Ajax. And so a whole new team was created in a few weeks. Not everybody was impressed by the way Ajax signed players but sometimes it’s a tough world.
The team is a mix of experienced players(Koster, Hoogendijk, Hogewoning) and young talented players(Van Der Most, Roof, Versteegt). Complete list of players at the end of this blog.
Pre-season was good. A few wins against amateur teams from the highest divisions and 2 good games on the FC Twente International Tournament, 2 draws(against FC Twente and PSG). But the season only really started on August 24th. A game that was a historical moment in football history, as an Ajax fan I had to be there so I travelled over 2 hours to get to the game at ‘’De Toekomst’’. But it was worth it. Why? Because this is the Arsenal Ladies, Turbine Potsdam and Tyreso of the Netherlands. A top team with quality and who knows how to play a good game football.
So on to the game. Fans started to arrive 1 hour before the game even started. This game and the 2 new teams in the league(Ajax and PSV) got a lot of attention in the newspapers, on tv and on the internet. So I already thought it was going to be crowded. But I didn’t expect 3000+ people in the stands!! Little girls with their family, normal Ajax fans, interested people and even the ‘’Ajax Hooligans’’ were in the stand. It made a really good atmosphere. Ajax fan or not I was very proud to see this can actually happen at a women’s game here(Besides the national team).
Siem de Jong and Daphne Koster did the kick off(Both captains, men’s and women’s team) .
I felt pretty bad for SC Heerenveen, it was a one way traffic game, they had no chance to score a goal and the only thing Ajax did was putting a really great game on the field. The Ajax fans were great. Drums, cheers, the oooohs and the aaahs were there. 1-0 was scored by Desiree van Lunteren, a midfielder, the first ever women’s Ajax goal. Van Lunteren also a member of the Dutch team played at AZ and Telstar. Ajax got a lot of chances but no goals until the second half. Shot by Babiche Roof, who is a very dangerous left winger, on the post in to the goal. 2-0. Roof is a member of the U19 national team and played at Saestum/FC Utrecht before joining Ajax.
The game ended with a 2-0 win for Ajax, the first win in history. And they showed some great football too. Hopefully the fans will come to the next games too because it was great to see so many fans.
I now will give you some more information on the players, mostly from the starting line up from yesterday’s game.
Laura Du Ry is the first goalkeeper for the team, played at FC Zwolle last season. Above average goalkeeper, not a national team member but she is not far from it.
In defence we had Daphne Koster, captain, one true leader. I was actually very impressed by her game, I’ve seen her play a few times now but I payed attention to her now. And her passes were precisely, I counted the shots/crosses she missed and I didn’t count more than 2.
Alongside Koster there was Leonne Stentler, 26 years old, good defender, strong on the ball.
Koster and Stentler were joined by Hogewoning, experienced player, WPS, Bundesliga etc.
On the midfield we have Hoogendijk, also an experienced player with her year at FAWSL’s Bristol Acadamy and also her national team duties. She got help from Linda Bakker, one of the young talented players on the team with her 19 years old. And that’s not the only 19 year old in midfield Tessel Middag is also one of those talented players. Played at ADO Den Haag last season.
Forwards are Liza Van Der Most, who is a great winger, also really young and talented, very eager Kelley O’Hara kind of player I think. And she is only 18.
The last player from the starting line-up is Mandy Versteegt who did a pretty great job last night, good 1v1 player, good shot too. And she has a FC Utrecht history.
The substitutes yesterday who were brought into the game were Eshly Bakker, young forward and Sabine Becx. An 18 year old who has no Eredivisie experience but made it to the team just on how talented she is.
Other Ajax players who didn’t get playtime yesterday: Marieke Ubachs(Goalkeeper), Pascalle Tang, Donna van Rossum(defenders), Carmen Manduapessy, Vesna Veltrop(Midfield).
So that was a long blog, but as an Ajax fan I’m very excited to write and read about them and hopefully I gave you a good look at the team and I really do hope more fans will join the family and go to their games.