Each game contains a hot bed for emerging talent. For basketball, there is the famous Rucker Park in Harlem. High school football, this is Texas. for hockey? This is the Netherlands.
This is where Drexel coach Dennis Zielinak came back when he was looking for new talent.
After joining High School Highlights and hosting Facetime meetings with Drexel staff, Book Devason, Amber Brewer, Isabel Jacobs and Elaine de Leva brought the Dutch hockey tradition to Philadelphia.
Hockey is one of the most popular sports in the Netherlands and has a long history of success. The women’s hockey team leads the world rankings of the International Hockey Federation, won the gold medal at the August Olympics and set a record for the 11th time at the European Hockey Championship this year.
During his 26th season with Drexel, Jelinek said it was important to recruit from the Netherlands.
“Recruitment is crazy,” Jelinek said. There are four to seven places a year. It is a competition where someone wants to go to school and we personally want to attend for four years. It’s about finding Drexel matches.
“It is important that we stay in the Netherlands because of the language barrier. It is important that you have a little sense of home in themselves, and I think they will be very successful, comfortable and confident with each other.
Drexel has had seven players from the Netherlands since 2003, but they aren’t the only talented in the school from Philadelphia. There are 16 hockey players from the Netherlands spread across the city – four in Drexel and St. , Sabion). , and two in Villanova (Ann Drup and Sabine de Router).
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At Trexel (4-8), Leva leads the team by 14 points, with Thivsson, Brewer and Jacobs finishing second with nine titles in Friday’s Dragons game against Northeast.
Last season, Drexel finished 3-3 in the Conference game. The first player forward led De Leyva Dragons in three offensive divisions, including goals (six), assists (seven) and points (19) and was the choice of the All-Rookie team.
Thesson described the match as “family friendly” in the Netherlands.
“I think the kind of hockey they play in the States is more fierce than it is at home,” said captain and full-back Tyson. “At home you were playing for fun. It’s still fun here, but there are a lot of expectations and responsibilities. That pressure was scary at first, but we are all used to it now.”
When they arrived, they were amazed at the difference in hockey’s popularity in the United States compared to the Netherlands.
“A lot of people here don’t know anything about hockey. People always ask me, ‘What are you doing, is it like ice hockey?’” Deleva said. “In the meantime, my friends and I came home [field hockey] The whole weekend club.
“One day we play together and other days we see all the old players. We play hockey all weekend.”
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It is based in the Dutch club and has no connection with schools in hockey, so the American system was new to them.
“When a lot of people go home to study, they decide to stop playing their game,” said Theison. “So it’s nice to be able to play here when you go to university. Hockey really opens more doors when you come home, to colleges and universities.
A major cultural shift comes from 2.8 times smaller than Pennsylvania. De Leva and Brewer managed to get into the school before deciding to go to Drexel.
“It’s different for us because if you’re from the States, you can go to school, and I can’t,” said Jacobs, the emerging All-CAA midfielder. “But the first conversation with the coaches, they all made me feel good and made me feel like family. I also want a school in town.”
They had to overcome the language barrier because they had spoken Dutch most of their lives. Although they learned English in school since the age of 12, real life experiences helped them learn the language further.
“You learn it through music or TV shows,” said a young man named Jacobs. “But when I came here, it was really hard. I was afraid to talk, but you always feel like you have to talk, so it really helps. Now, in my third year, things are going a lot better.”
Being together helped make their transition from Holland to Drexel seamless.
“You’re in a country where you don’t speak your first language,” said Junior Buck and midfielder Brewer. “Of course there are a lot of people here to help us, but it’s still scary. It was helpful to have Dutch citizens together here. If we have language issues or cultural differences, we know we can trust each other.”
Theson said that some international players may come for a limited period to try the United States. But Drexel Forsom was here long before he returned to Holland.
“When we get here, we don’t know what to expect, but we’re still here and everyone is planning to graduate,” Davson said. “Allocating a place for four years is not a problem for us, but he welcomes us into the coaches and the team, and he is with them.”
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