Merel van Dongen “The time for change has come”

Ajax football player, Merel van Dongen, spoke at the launch of the “Heroes of Football” Erasmus+ Project in the Hall of Fame, Amsterdam Arena. She described football for her as her peace, as life can get pretty chaotic as a professional player, and with the addition of her even more chaotic personality, she finds peace and silence in football.

But the reason why she is still alive and happy and I still have all 10 fingers?


When she is in chaos, and stress, or even sadness about life, football is her peace, her regularity. When she steps on that pitch and surprisingly then she calms down in the midst of a battle. All she can think about is the next action, the next pass, the next goal, and winning the game. Her worries go away.

However, there is a realisation and it’s sad that football doesn’t mean peace and silence for everybody. Sadly, struggles about sexual orientation can result in the complete opposite. Football becomes a factor of stress, it makes you pretend to be someone you are not, and more importantly it prevents you from being the best football player you can be. This must change. And to change this she had some advice:

“Watch. Us. Women. Grab. Life. By. The. Balls.”

For Merel, she knows that women do a lot of things better than men!

“Women are tougher, no theater, no crying, no fights, no spitting, no biting. And everything without being paid much.

But above all, it is easier to be who you are in women’s football. To love women, to love men, or not to love at all. I could care less. We women are more accepting”.  And she stated that she is happy about that, because life can already be stressful enough.

“The time for change has come, and I want to say to all the struggling football players out there: you are always part of our team.”

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