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Eredivisie debutant Franca Overtoom: “I never felt insecure on the field”

Franka Overdom (29) could not hold back her tears when she heard from her coach on Monday that she would be the first female assistant referee on ERTV. “When he said I would be in line for Sunday’s match between the Go Ahead Eagles and FC Groningen, at first I was speechless. Introducing at the highest level is something you have invested in all these years.

For a moment, his introduction threatened to fall into the water because KNVB intended to postpone the table by empty stands. In consultation with the clubs, it was decided to continue playing football. “It’s definitely a big pity that I was introduced without an audience,” Overdoom says. “Supporters are a part of football.”

In 2018 he debuted at Eerste Divisie, where he usually flags. At the end of October he was active in the Limburg derby between MVV and Roda Jesse. After a corner, the overdose was able to run fast by the time the crowd threw beer on the field. Then things got out of hand; Supporters threw firecrackers at each other and rioted. The match was stopped. “It’s very sad that things like this happen, but I’m never felt safe during or after a match. I personally do not take things like this lightly. ”

When did this start for you?

“When I was ten, my parents left me as a judge. They thought I should work on my self-esteem and whistle matches would help. I joined playing football at the Victoria-O club in Optam until I was 21 years old. Then I had to choose, and because of the career opportunities I chose as an assistant referee.

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“When the teammates were playing football, I was training for myself on the same field. Sometimes I miss games. As a lineman you do not know the sense of success or failure because you have no opponent.

You are a dentist in the Navy. Can it be connected?

“I work five days a week at a naval base in Den Helter. I train every night of the week except Monday. It is a pleasure to be rewarded with the introduction of all those working hours on Eredivisie. And because of this schedule I sometimes miss the party. Socially, you sometimes make unpleasant decisions. So I hope to get more time in the future.

Navy and professional football are known as forts for men. Do you feel at home there?

“I can not deny that I have come into a world of two human beings. But, I feel like a fish in the water in the field and on the naval base. I have never had the feeling that they treat me differently from male colleagues.

Overdoom grew up in a sports family in the western Frisian village of Optam. His brother Keys and sister Mariska both act as arbitrators in the second division. His other brother Willie played as a professional footballer at AZ and Heracles. Sister Jessica is in the hall at ERTVC level and is the goalkeeper of the Dutch beach football team.

“It helps them be very sporty. Occasionally we go to practice together on the football field in Optam. We encourage each other and then work out for fitness. Willie has also given me tips in the past, for example, he would tell annoying things to referees.

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What are your goals for the future?

“I hope to take part in next year’s European Women’s Championship in England. My final goal is the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. I’m working hard for that.