Kevin Bijn has scored five goals so far this World Cup, including a stunning goal against Chile last week. But it wasn’t long ago that the Dutch striker was scoring goals using his feet instead of a hockey stick.
Bijan, 24, was playing for the Excelsior Rotterdam football team in the youth Eredivisie, the junior rank of the top professional club competition in the Netherlands. After spending his childhood and teenage years playing soccer, the sport became his first love.
Bijen also had offers to join Ajax, Feyenoord, ADO Den Haag and Sparta Rotterdam, but a staunch loyalist, he stayed at Excelsior.
But as he reached his late teens, Beijing’s coaches asked him to quit the game.
“I was very short or short compared to other players. They said that I am not physically fit enough. I gave up football because I wasn’t selected for any tournament, citing my short stature,” Bijan said. “After that, I started playing tennis, which is my second favorite sport. Like football, I also played tennis at a high level (in juniors).
But he soon stopped playing tennis and instead took up hockey, a major sport with a rich history in the Netherlands. The forward was immediately influential when he joined HGC – a club in the top division of league hockey in the Netherlands. In 2017, he joined Klein Switzerland before moving to Den Bosch in 2020.
“I combined the skills I learned in soccer and tennis, footwork for example, and started using those things in hockey and it worked,” Bijn said. “I like individual sports, but I like team sports more. Now I’m a full-time professional hockey player, although I play a little tennis in the summer or on vacation, but not competitively. For me, tennis and fit. Hair is in the past.
Bijn made his debut for the junior Netherlands team in June 2019, playing for the next two years. A pure striker, Bijen was noticed by Dutch coaches for his ability to score goals. Netherlands head coach Joroen Delmy eventually handed Bijen his senior debut in November 2021 against neighbors Belgium. He played Tests against several teams and the Pro League in 2022 and was eventually selected for the World Cup.
“When I started playing hockey, I realized that I had a little bit of talent for it. I wasn’t like a normal hockey player who makes good balls (passes) and has tricks up his sleeve but I There was a guy who could defend well and also score goals in the striking circle. When I was selected to play for the national team, it was a dream come true. It’s amazing to represent my country in events like the World Cup. ,” said Bijan, who has only played 22 internationals so far, scoring 11 goals.
In their first World Cup as well as a tour of India, Bijen will be looking to take the Netherlands deep into the tournament. “India has been amazing. We were in Rourkela for a week where we played in this amazing new stadium. Now in Bhubaneswar. From the facilities to the crowd, it’s been a really good experience,” he said.
Belgians still follow their favorite football club – Barcelona – religiously. “I love Barca. When I was young, I supported Ajax. But I don’t like the Dutch league anymore. They used to have big players like Luis Suarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But now I only support Barcelona. Because I’m a really big fan of (Lionel) Messi. It’s sad that he left for Paris Saint-Germain. I hope he comes back, maybe in a different role.
The Netherlands beat Korea 5-1 in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. They will face Belgium in the semi-finals.
(Tags to Translate)Quin Bijen (T) Hockey World Cup (T) Netherlands Hockey Team