Boer & Croon women on the soccer field

October 2022 - It's all in the name! In the next article of the sports series "The Setup of Boer & Croon" our soccer ladies Suzanne Nelen (Management Assistant) and Suzanne Lei (Young Executive) talk about their experiences on the soccer field. They both agree that the sport involves a lot of fun and that it is actually quite funny to be the only women participating in company soccer in the Boer & Croon team.

Suzanne Nelen voetbal 1

Let's introduce!

SUZANNE NELEN I am Suzanne, 41 years old and I have been working at Boer & Croon since August 2019..

SUZANNE LEI I am Suzanne, 27 years old and have been working at Boer & Croon as a Young Executive for over 2.5 years. I have completed four different assignments with different clients so far.

How did you start playing football?

SUZANNE NELEN I started playing soccer back in 1988 when I was 7 years old. The Netherlands won the European Championship that summer and I liked it so much that I wanted nothing more than to play soccer. I started at the club where I still play soccer. What I like about soccer is the team spirit. It gives a lot of fun, I made lifelong friends and I still enjoy it. There is nothing more fun than being together and having a drink afterwards. I have not yet found a sport that I think I would rather do than soccer. Of course, at some point there is an expiration date on it, but I still continue.

I now play soccer 3-4 times a week. Of that, I train 2 days and on Sundays I play a game. Every other week I also participate in a 30+ game on a half field, so basically I'm on 2 teams.

SUZANNE LEI When I was 12 years old I started playing soccer. The club near me in Friesland started having girls' teams which they came to tell me about in high school. My parents made me play a team sport. Since I had been playing korfball against my will for a while, this got me excited. I started playing field soccer, 11 against 11, which I did until the first year of my studies in Groningen. At one point I didn't want to play soccer anymore so I stopped and started playing tennis in Groningen.

When I moved to Amsterdam 4.5 years ago, there were some girls I knew who wanted to start a soccer team together. We all didn't want to give up a weekend day for that though, so now we play 5 against 5 at Footy near Sloterdijk. There we play 5 against 5 once a week on Tuesday nights in a kind of cage. This is an internal competition.

Suzanne Nelen voetbal 3

What's the most extraordinary thing you've ever experienced athletically?

SUZANNE NELEN Becoming a champion! I experienced that a few times in youth with indoor soccer. Besides that, Ajax games are always a lot of fun. My brother is friends with one of the players so a few years ago I was able to go to the game with him and see the players afterwards. That was very special.

SUZANNE LEI When I was still in high school, we could become champions. We always had a regular referee who was very sympathetic to us toward these finals. The bizarre thing was that he died the night before our game. The day after, we became champions. Then suddenly a hummer limousine pulled up in front of us and the driver had the message for us that our regular referee had arranged that, even before he passed away. That was very special.

Suzanne Nelen: "You get better results by working in a team, because you can't do everything alone."

How do you apply experiences from sports to your work?

SUZANNE NELEN Working in a team. You get better results because you can't do everything alone. And also by playing soccer with colleagues. Every summer we participate in the summer league. At my previous job there was only a women's team, but at Boer & Croon it's men and women mixed together. That is very nice. You get a different picture of your colleagues. Things are different between the two. Most of the men try to watch out for the women, but last year I was once kicked to the curb by a guy. He didn't expect me to stand so he went right through me.

SUZANNE LEI Because my parents were so dedicated that I was always on a team sport, I really did become a team player. I used to always play soccer on the first girls team with a strict coach. I think that built up a great sense of responsibility and really made me a team player. If you make an appointment, you don't just cancel without checking with everyone to see if that's desirable and if they can manage without you. I have really learned that and I notice that in my work as well; I am a reliable employee who is always there and you can always count on.

'During corporate soccer, women get knocked aside just as much as the men, so that's kind of a comical sight for spectators to see us hopping around in between.' - Suzanne Lei

Do you have some funny stories that you experienced playing football?

SUZANNE NELEN On my team, all the girls are younger than me so they all call me mom or grandma.

SUZANNE LEI I now play 5-on-5. The short stretches you run give you special fitness. You're moving all the time, but you don't have to sprint long distances. With the Boer & Croon soccer team, I thought very easily, well I can join in, all fanatical about it. Only that field is much bigger. So 5 minutes later I was already demolished and went to the side half hyperventilating. It's pretty cool to participate in Boer & Croon soccer as a woman anyway. Suus and I were usually the only women. The other companies don't really take this into account. They knock you aside just as hard as they would knock a man aside, so it is quite a comical sight for spectators to see us hopping around. You do notice a difference between men and women in terms of strength.

To be continued! Next time in our series: The Winter Players of Boer & Croon: Part I, with two more great guests: Inelise Fröberg and Tycho ten Brink

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