• Rivkah in the field

    Presenter NOS Sport

  • Rivkah in the field

    Presenter NOS Sport

As national coach Andries Jonker’s team takes the next steps in preparation for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Vivianne Miedema is at home in a town outside London.

Most likely, after last night’s exhibition match against Germany in Sittard, the Dutch narrowly lost 1-0, she was talking face to face with her teammates. Because although the best striker the Orange has ever had has been out for months due to a serious knee injury, she is still involved.

Visiting the most successful soccer couple in the world

Not surprising, because she uses the time in addition to her rehab to earn her coaching diplomas and remains heavily involved with the Orange. “After the game I talk about the game with Andries (Jonker, ed.) and some girls. That way I try to be an addition.”

Stripe through World Cup ambition

He immediately knew something was wrong last December in the Champions League game between Arsenal and Olympique Lyonnais. His ambition to shine again in the World Cup faded. “It’s not realistic for me to achieve it. And it’s not fair of me to go halfway fit and take someone else’s place. Unfortunately, it comes too soon.”

Every once in a while Beth and I can shoot each other

Vivianne Miedema on her partner Beth Mead, with whom she plays soccer and is now recovering

Who will replace the irreplaceable scorer from Orange? “Haha, that’s a good one. It depends on how you’re going to play. We know that Fenna (Kalma, ed.) can score goals. Romée (Leuchter, ed.) also shows it in the Dutch league. Lineth (Beerensteyn, ed.) . ) has already shown that in the national team, but he’s also a completely different type of player. Andries’ job is to put the striker in position, and when that happens, I think everyone can score goals.”

Impressive trophy case

The masterpiece in the living room of the Mead-Miedema House is the imposing trophy case. Sometimes Miedema and her friend, Arsenal teammate Beth Mead, take a look at the trophies. It is very likely that we are visiting the most successful soccer couple in the world. Both became European champions, both were voted footballer of the year.

Vivianne Miedema follows her Arsenal team from the stands

But now they are both at home, with the same cruciate ligament injury. Mead was the first, and is therefore a few weeks ahead of her rehab. “I jumped today,” says Miedema. “Really? Good,” Mead replies.

“From time to time we can shoot each other,” says Miedema. “But at least you know what you’re going through. You can talk about missing football. How it was in the gym, how the knee feels. In that sense, it’s still a nice thing.”

Miedema and Mead’s football life has come to a standstill in recent months. And then earlier this year, Mead’s mother, June, also passed away. Just before that, her daughter had received the highest honor in the British sporting world: she was voted Sports Personality of the Year.

On the red carpet, Mead and Miedema shone…on crutches.

Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema on the red carpet at the Sports Personality of the Year election.

Women’s football grows. Expansion of competitions, new competitions, new clubs, but also more competitions with club and country. In short, the load on players has increased considerably.

“I think that in women’s soccer we don’t necessarily have to move towards men’s soccer. Many things in women’s soccer are done the same way they are arranged in men’s soccer. But first you have to develop slowly to be able to take the next one. passed”.

‘Put player welfare first’

Miedema cites the example of adding a World Cup for women’s club teams and expanding the number of countries participating in the Soccer World Cup. “These are mainly things that are planned for profit and entertainment purposes, but the well-being of the players is not taken into account.”

“Men also play a ridiculous number of matches,” he adds. “I think Kevin De Bruyne played 63 games last year,” he says of the Manchester City player and Belgium international. “That’s a lot…”

Arsenal’s injured: Vivianne Miedema, Jodie Taylor, Steph Catley, Giovana Queiroz Costa and Beth Mead

According to Miedema, many footballers are also less able to prepare for the load of playing time, because the facilities are not sufficient. “At Arsenal we are with the men in the complex and we have everything we need. But a lot of clubs don’t even employ a full-time physiotherapist, they employ twenty players who play football professionally. That shouldn’t be possible.”

According to Miedema, we need to think differently about interpretation. “Now the clubs think: we hired a part-time physio and we have twenty instead of eighteen in the national team.”

Up to fifty games

Miedema also appeals to FIFA. “They can determine that players can play a maximum number of games of, say, fifty a year. They can adjust the game schedule accordingly.” Because he believes that the growing popularity of women’s football comes with responsibilities. “It’s boisterous from the outside, but it will be very difficult for the players to keep up with this pace.”

Is the cruciate ligament injury also a result of this? “I think it has something to do with it. I’ve played about 4,000 minutes a year for the last 11 years and not many players have done that.”

She believes one solution is to invest in a high-quality premier league.

Miedema on the Eredivisie: ‘We have to make sure the quality doesn’t drop’

“Several teams are not good enough. We have to be careful that we don’t add more and more teams and the quality goes down.” He also talks about it with other Orange players. “A lot of girls excel in the competition, but then the move to national and international is too big.”

He wonders how a high-level league can be developed with players, most of whom are not ready to go abroad. She doesn’t have the answer, but ‘the coach in her’ is willing to work for her.

“You don’t realize something like this three months from now, but I hope we can work towards it in the years to come.”