Former ZSV’er Joep Claassen, successful in America, has been back in the Netherlands for a while

Former ZSV'er Joep Claassen, successful in America, has been back in the Netherlands for a while

He left in the summer of 2021 to start adventuring in the US with the OC Eagles in Oklahoma City. Joep Claassen played until he left for the “States” in ZSV1 and was a youth coach. This week he will return to the Netherlands for a few weeks’ winter break and may also have a look at the Kranenmoretl derby between his old club and SV Düren next Saturday.

Joep has now completed two seasons of football and a year and a half of schooling at Oklahoma Christian University: “I’m fine. The past few months have been busy with a mixture of football and study, but luckily we now have a long winter break during which I can go home again to see family and friends. In the summer I chose to stay here, so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen everyone.”

“Special Stamppot Or Frikadel”
During the time that Klassen was in the United States, he communicated extensively with the “home front”. Almost every day he is in contact with a person from the Netherlands, because of course he misses some things: “First of all, of course, our father, mother and sister Stevie. I also miss fun with friends and Dutch food, such as soup or a special frikadel. And fun in the canteen at the ZSV and the training of the ZSV youth, Which I have always enjoyed very much.”

Claassen resides in the United States in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, North Texas. He loves it there, he explains: “Oklahoma State has a reputation for not really doing much, with a lot of countryside and expansive areas. Luckily, my school is in town and there’s a lot to do here. Oklahoma City and the surrounding neighborhoods have a population of just over about a million people.”

Joep lives in an apartment on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University (OC) and is studying business administration. The training he followed for this purpose in the Netherlands was also given in English, so he had no problems switching. In the last period, Joep shared the flat with Robben from Groningen, who was also on the football team. “Unfortunately, he had to return to the Netherlands due to circumstances. There are also two other Dutch people in the school, one on the baseball team and the other in athletics.

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Good click
Joep ended up with the OC Eagles in Oklahoma through Gemert’s Kings Talent. They help Dutch boys and girls who want to combine their sport with studying in the United States. After talking to a number of different schools across the US, the choice fell on OC because there was a very good connection with the coach, Mitchell Sowerby. He was also new at school and the plan was to build something. I loved this and in the meantime it has also worked out really well with this season’s performance as proof. The goal for next year is clear: to win the “national championship,” Claassen explains.

The high speed
While we are only at the end of November, two seasons have already passed. This has to do with the speed at which matches are played in the United States. “The season here ends at an incredibly high pace. We played 24 games in three months. The sports here are divided into ‘fall’ and ‘spring’ sports. That means some sports are off-season in the fall and others in the spring,” says Goep.

I travel a lot
He explains that this division ensures that a lot is asked of you in a short time: “It takes a lot of getting used to in the beginning. During the season you play a very physically demanding game every Saturday and Wednesday. Then training mainly consists of recovery and sometimes some tactical stuff because it is impossible to train hard.” There is a lot of travel around that with many games far too busy.

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Despite the frantic pace, Joep is optimistic about the future at the OC Eagles: “Because I’ve been here a little bit longer now, you get to know more people and you have time to build something. Not only friendships within the team but also with other people on campus that way.” You can get to know more and more people.I’m now a coach at the local soccer club, which also generates contacts.There I train twice a week and we have competition at the weekend.After a difficult season for the team in my freshman year, we made it to the championship finals this season and broke some records School standard. This tournament is like the playoffs after the regular season to determine the champion who then goes to the national championship.”

highest score
Personally, it was a good year for Claassen as he became the leading scorer and leading scorer and was named to the All Conference Team and Tournament Team. “These are different awards that they give here, because they like it in the States. There is something for every achievement,” laughs Joep.

good players
On the OC Eagles team that Joep plays for, the majority of the players come from all over the world. According to him, the international character of the team creates a special dynamic: “There is a lot of talent from all over the world. I think the tactical level may be a little lower than in Holland, but the pace is incredibly high. Teams are allowed to switch in the second half, so The right players are constantly being brought in who can use full force.”

“Seeing a lot of country”
During the summer holidays, Claassen worked with a Brazilian boy at a soccer camp that traveled across the United States. “This was perfect because I got to work and see so much of the country at the same time. I’ve been to Phoenix and Flagstaff in Arizona, Santa Fe, New Mexico and wrapped up in Denver, Colorado. Camp was from 9am to 12pm in the morning, and after that it was We have plenty of time to explore the area. So I was able to see many wonderful places. The United States is so big that virtually all forms of nature or different scenes can be found in this country,” says Joyep enthusiastically.

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rocky mountains
Until January 8, he will be back in the Netherlands for a while during the winter break: “I don’t have any really big plans, it will mainly consist of spending time with friends and family. I want to spend as much time with them as possible in the six weeks I have.” Then he would travel back to Oklahoma to start softly with the OC Eagles. “So in the spring, we’re not in an official season and then the week consists of training sessions, on the field and in the weight room. Then we have more time to do fun things. Something on the schedule is skiing in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado because I got to know people.” There during the summer,” Claassen explains.

Perfect closure
He was actually going to graduate in April or May next year, but decided to stay for another season: “Then I’ll graduate in the fall of 2023. Perfect for me because then I can do another season where we’re hopefully going very far. Come on and it’ll be the perfect end to my time.” wonderful “.

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