Utrecht celebrates Houten Eredivisie Success

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Handball Houten have been promoted to the BENE-League:

It was a big party on Saturday in Houten, as they defeated Aalsmeer, 32-17 and so Houten are champions of the Dutch Eredivisie.

Captain Harmen Voogt received the championship shield from Alderman Kees van Dalen. Then the champagne opened.

Not so long ago, Houten was  playing in the lower Dutch leagues. But Dick Jacobs, who has invested a lot of money into the club, has seen the club up the leagues like a rocket.

So having won the Eredivisie they now move on up to one of Europe’s top Handball leagues, to the BENE-League where the best clubs in the Netherlands and Belgium play. Says Jacobs:

“It has been more than worth it, I just want to go up and put a lot of time and a little bit of money into it, but I am also very proud of these men.”

Although the players have to do the work on the field, Jacobs has of course been indispensable. But the work of coach Rick Louw has also been vital Says Jacobs:

“Thanks to him there was as much as possible, he really gave the handball in Utrecht a boost and now he can go to Belgium every few weeks”

© Martin Veldhuizen

Rick Louw is delighted of course and is proud that:

“We put handball in Utrecht on the map again”

Player Jorick de Bruijn will have watched with mixed feelings. He is the only player who was there from the beginning of the Houten journey, but is now injured and sitting on the bench.

 “Twelve years I played here, fantastic to finish with a championship.”

When De Bruijn started at Houten, the club played four leagues lower.

“With Dick we made the plan to storm the top of the Netherlands, which is now fantastic for the club and for Dick.”

The veteran player will not go on to play in the BENE-League.

“But I will definitely encourage the boys, I am confident that they will save themselves.”

This is not the end, but the start, as to take the next step and to be able to compete seriously, something more is needed. Jacobs explained:

“A lot has to be done. To come up for the BENE League, I think we have a very good team, but we need something in addition, we have to train six times, the organization has to be up to standard, it can not be done on an amateur basis, and that requires money, so I hope that there will be sponsors in this train, because I am dreaming of the European Cup.”

A great beginning to the story, now we need to see how the tale ends, hopefully with BENE success and entry into European competition.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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