Sarina Weigman, who is replacing the lionesses with a job as the national trainer for the English ladies, called the lioness fans. She addresses all fans of lionesses and women’s football in an open letter.
“What a journey,” thus begins her message. “7 years of KNVB, of which 4.5 years as a national coach. I never dared to dream that one day I would be a coach for one of the most popular sports teams in the Netherlands. I also never dreamed that we as women footballers would ever play in the orange fields. The crowds and that tens of thousands of fans will travel to France or come to celebrate especially for lionesses. The dreams of lionesses and all those who have ever worn the orange shirt have come true in recent years including mine.”
For girls – and boys – there are now ‘regular’ Nike shirts on sale with names like Jackie, Stefanie, Sari, Lieke or Vivianne. Young Sheridaatjes and Shanicejes who play soccer can go to any football club in the Netherlands and get the top players as role models. “The future as a professional at Ajax, PSV, Barcelona, Manchester United and now also Feyenoord is a reality. As far as I’m concerned, this is the biggest win we’ve all had in recent years.”
And then you look at the past Olympics, when the lionesses were eliminated by the United States in the quarter-finals: “Suddenly the trip is over. The disappointment with everyone, the players, the staff and of course you – our fans – was and still is great. We had a dream, and that dream was our mission in Tokyo. Unfortunately, but.”
“I cherish the rest of my life”
“Now we’re a few more weeks. And while it still hurts, it’s better to see the bigger picture: the European champion, the vice world champion and the Olympics for the first time in history. We’ve really achieved something together. What we launched with millions of people in Holland, The fun we had with you and the growth we’ve had, as individuals and as a sport as a whole. It was unprecedented and wonderful to be a part of that not only makes me proud, I also enjoyed it immensely and enriched me in every way. I will cherish this intense and special period for the rest of my life.”
Thank you fans
“I would like to thank you for the great support and overwhelming enthusiasm. You have truly been our 12th man. This is still special and will never get used to it. Thanks dear fans!”
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