Hello there! Let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Emma, I’m 23 years old, and my biggest dream is to make it to the Dutch national team for the 2019 World Cup. Nothing weird there so far, right? Well, if you would talk to the people I went to high school with and told them that is my goal, they would probably think you were joking. My life was a little bit different back then.
I’ve been playing soccer since I was about 8 years old, but from ages 15 to 20, playing a match on Sunday was mostly an excuse to get extremely drunk in the club house afterwards. My seat always remained empty during math class on Monday morning, when I was sleeping off my hangover. Truth be told, my seat remained empty for most of my classes during that time.
But then, everything changed. In November of 2013, I was on a 5-day solo trip to Stockholm. Before travelling there, a girl that I fancied, who happened to be a huge fan of Christen Press, told me that if I was going to the Swedish capital, I ‘absolutely had to go see Tyresö FF’. When I found out that Tyresö was not the name of a bar or some hip festival, but the soccer club where her favorite American player happened to play, I came up with a plan. I was going to watch a Tyresö game, collect Press’ autograph, send it to the girl, and receive her everlasting love as a reward. Yeah, that didn’t really work out.
90 minutes after referee Amy Fearn had blown her whistle for the first time in the Champions League match between Tyresö and the Danish side Fortuna Hjørring, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to become a professional soccer player. It didn’t matter that I always played at the lowest amateur level, smoked a pack a day, and went out to get drunk three times a week. Minor hurdles, of course.
Well, as you can probably guess, it wasn’t as easy as that. Since that day, my life has drastically changed in almost every aspect. Every single morning, I’ve woken up with that One Big Goal in my mind: the 2019 World Cup. In the process, I’ve learned more about soccer, life, and myself than I ever could’ve dreamed. In 2015, I started documenting my road to the World Cup on a blog, that has been accompanied by a vlog since a few months back.
My adventures in soccer have not always been easy, but to say that it’s worth it would be an understatement. If I’m going to make the World Cup? I have no idea. But whatever happens, the journey towards it is bound to be one hell of an experience, and I can’t wait to share it with you.