From Muziekwijk to the big league

Jonas and Anna de Geus, grew up in Muziekwijk, Almere. Together they started playing hockey at the Almere Hockey Club and put Almere and themselves on the map. Nowadays they are active at the highest level and compete for prizes. Read how they have become the big league's finest.

Jonas and Anna. About a year apart. Born in Amsterdam but actually soon moved to Almere. Once they arrived in Almere, they found themselves in an environment to which they would be associated for the rest of their lives. Muziekwijk was a neighborhood where 7 teammates lived, within a radius of less than 100 meters. This reflected their love for the sport and combined it with lifelong friendships. We spoke to Jonas and Anna about what it was like to grow up in such an environment and how their path to the big league went.

Jonas de Geus

April 29, 1998, Amsterdam

Started at Almeerse Hockey Club. Playing for Kampong Men 1. Graduated in Economics, now completing a Masters in Finance. With Almere to the big league, final Dutch Championship 2021, gold at the European Championships in 2017 and 2021, silver at the World Cup in 2018, bronze at Champions trophy, Pro League and European Championships in 2019. Olympic Games 2020 Tokyo.

Anna de Geus

May 24, 1999, Amsterdam

Started at Almeerse Hockey Club. Playing for SCHC Ladies 1. Studying Medicine, currently doing internships. Promoted to the Promotion Class with Almere, Dutch B, Dutch A, Dutch Juniors, Shadow Team and Potentials Dutch national team field, Dutch national team hall.

"How special is it that so many people in the same neighborhood had a talent for hockey, parents who actually had nothing to do with hockey and yet so many people took up hockey and became so good."

How did you come into contact with hockey?

J: Jarik (our older brother) played hockey, I would do a trial lesson in hockey and a trial lesson in football. When I did the hockey trial lesson, I almost cried.

A: I think you cried because you were just going to play games and you weren't expecting that.

J: Haha, I thought we were really going to train and then suddenly we started playing. Just whining. Holding on to my mother's leg. Not sure if it was this trial training, quite strange if you just cry and end up taking up the sport. I think it was a bit because our brother played hockey too.

So your older brother already played hockey. Were you a real hockey family?

J: I can still remember those videos, that we all had sticks at home, that we were already playing hockey at the time. But our parents didn't really have a connection with hockey. Dad played hockey in Soest, I think, until the D and our mom played volleyball. Dad did all kinds of things and eventually ended up playing volleyball.

A: I think Jarik took up hockey because we always cycled past there.

J: I think he just did a trial lesson then.

Do you have hockey heroes? Hockey players you looked up to?

J: I remember that I used to see Nicki Leijs and Robin Herweijer, who was my coach at the time and who played in Men's 1. What I can actually only remember is that I always watched Men's 1 on Sundays and looked up to it. . I went to play offs every now and then, but I didn't really have a hero when I was younger.

A: I think I felt a bit the same, for us it was always Men's and Women's 1. They were often at the club when we were there. I didn't really have one person that I specifically looked up to. I wasn't concerned with it at all.

J: It was really a standard at the time that we all went to watch Men's 1 on Sundays.

A: I was always there all day, mini of the week. If you also look at how Men 1 always sat there, in some cage, with all kinds of junk. It was still very different.

Have you always dreamed of playing hockey at such a high level?

A: I did have a dream to play for the Dutch national team later. Ever since I was in D1, I always said this. Then I always went to practice matches.

A: I did have a poster on my wall. I had a bag with the Dutch team on it. I watched the video gold, 80 times, I was perhaps a little more of a fangirl than Jonas.

J: I remember that I always wanted to play in Men's 1, but not really in the Dutch team. I think I had a friends book back then, and you had to say what you wanted to become. Back then I always wrote that I wanted to become a hockey or football player.

A: It was when I was young, but as you get older it fades a bit. Especially when I was already in Dutch B, it became less so.

You left for another club almost at the same time. What was ultimately the reason for leaving?

A: I wanted to play Hoofdklasse, we played Overgangsklasse. They had just achieved Promotional Class that year. It was the first time that other clubs came and I didn't want to just go to another club. Then I started to get the itch to go to another club, I was also playing in the young orange team at the time. Yes, then Stichtse came and I thought it was a really nice club to go to. It really hurts my heart, I cried so much during that period. No, actually my reason was really because I wanted to play in the big league and mainly with the prospect that the ladies of Almere would not achieve this very quickly. I'm really happy with it now.

What is your fondest memory of Almere Dames 1?

A: Promotion to the Transitional Class. I was really only 15 at the time. I was 14 when I first participated in Ladies 1, I was super young at the time, but I thought it was very normal at the time. So when I was 14 I took part, and then we were relegated again from the 'Overgangsklasse' to the first class. Then I missed a shootout, so I was young when I had to take this, I really trained for this, I scored a lot during training, so I was allowed to do it. But this match I had a complete mistake. Then the play-offs, that year Daanra was immediately promoted again. It was also very nice that we had achieved Promotional Class. And 1 year nationally in the A, that was really wonderful, we had never achieved that before. And last year, with the most shameful team, the dropouts from girls B then joined us. Then we made it nationally.

J: It wasn't like Anna that I wanted to play in the big league, because of course we were already in that. Ultimately, yes, I wanted to play for the championship. That was one of the main reasons, but I also had the feeling that at Kampong I could develop myself better as a player, also with a view to the Olympic Games that were coming up, which would actually be within a year, but that was of course postponed. I could have left much earlier, but the reason I didn't was that I always played at Almere with the boys I played with all my youth. I felt like nothing could match that at that moment and I think that is still the most beautiful thing, but at a certain point that is no longer possible. Then you want to play for the prizes, it was also a very difficult decision last year. It always remains that way.

J: I always kind of, it always went from one thing to the next. I was in Dutch A, then I moved on to the Dutch Juniors, and then I was allowed to train with the Dutch team for the first time. I didn't really think about what was happening, it was always just playing hockey and watching. When I first joined the Dutch team I didn't expect anything, I always thought I would play nicely and do what I can and then see if I could join. That was actually always the case when I was allowed to participate in tournaments. That was always my mindset at that moment, nothing was expected of me, so I didn't put any pressure on myself. I never said I have to do this, I have to do that, I just played hockey as best I could and made sure I was fit enough. And then I see, that was then, but it is still my mindset now. You can worry about selections, but in the end it's about how you play, as best as possible, and then it will work itself out in the end.

Anna, you are already sitting in a row at the NL hall, how do you experience that?

A: Yes, I was there every year, but I have never played any tournaments with them. This year there was a tournament, but it was cancelled. I was there at the time, but there was no final selection yet. I have always trained in Dutch hall, but always lost weight. This year things were just going well, people got injured, and then corona came. The European Championship will be overtaken in December, but I don't think the World Cup will be held until next year.

Is this something you would like to set your sights on?

A: Well, I have to constantly consider whether it is feasible with what I am doing at that moment, in terms of studies. That's more it, you train as much as the Dutch team does, but it is on a voluntary basis, so you have to make a conscious choice. So I don't know yet what I'm doing, but I always really enjoyed it, so last winter I chose to go for it and then unfortunately, corona. So I would think it would be really cool if I could ever play a tournament with that again. I'm not really thinking about it at the moment, but as it gets closer you'll think about it more.

Jonas, you are becoming increasingly important for both the club and Dutch. What is your vision of the future in hockey?

J: The aim now is to win some prizes. I mean, I won the European Championship twice. With a year in between. With Kampong, a year has actually been wasted due to corona. Reached the finals 1 year, lost in shootouts, this year things are still a bit slow, but in principle we are still playing for everything. Ultimately, where we are going with Kampong is to be able to participate in the prizes. And if you can participate in winning prizes, then you want to win them too.

With orange we have of course taken a new path with a new national coach, many guests left with a lot of experience, so we are now working on improving as a team. It is now very difficult to say, we are going for the prizes, because you don't know where you stand. But when you play hockey for the Netherlands, you always play hockey for the prizes. So it's a simple answer, but in the end we just want to win trophies, I think that's the best thing about hockey, just playing finals and winning.

Do you have a lot of tension before the match?

How is your tension before the match, when you know you are going to play an important match, with an audience? Are you extra nervous or do you get used to it?

J: I don't get nervous about the crowd, but I do get a little nervous at important matches. Whenever I start my warm-up, I don't have any nerves, it just makes me look forward to it more. I notice, for example, that when we played the play-offs without an audience, that was nothing at all. Then you have to tell yourself all the time, okay, this is important, you really don't feel it. If there is an audience then it happens automatically, I also remember in Almere during the playouts, it was always completely full. I had the feeling that that always brought out the best in me.

A: I think you too, it is impossible to see whether you are nervous or not. You played your best games at the most important moments. I always find that so clever.

J: Sure, I'm definitely nervous. I just always, once you're on the field and playing a bit of hockey, it always goes away quickly.

A: I remember asking you once. Then you had a shootout in the final in Indian at the World Cup. That you scored. Then I also asked you if you realized how many people were there. Then you also said that you really didn't realize that at all.

J: No, it's also right if you take a shootout. I also took a shootout against Bloemendaal, but it is so strange. Normally you feel the audience and that makes you focused. But when you take a shootout, it's like taking a shootout at practice and you're practicing. Then you are often not fully focused, so you just try something. I enjoy a shootout with an audience more than without.