Dutch skilled footballers could be present in all corners of the world, from the spotlights of the main European leagues to the extra adventurous jobs on different continents. Within the Over de Grens part, Voetbalzone speaks weekly with a participant who’s energetic exterior the nationwide borders. This time with consideration to Menno Bergsen, who exchanged AS Trencín earlier this summer season for the Slovenian file champion NK Maribor.
By Chris Meijer
The times off are scarce for Menno Bergsen throughout this era. Roughly a month after the 21-year-old goalkeeper signed a two-year contract with NK Maribor, the primary official sport was already scheduled within the first qualifying spherical of the Convention League towards Urartu from Armenia. “I had a brief vacation, as a result of the preparation has already began at the start of June”, Bergsen laughs. Between the matches within the Convention League, the Slovenian league additionally began final weekend. “Spicy, however enjoyable. It is my first time taking part in European and having to journey, so it is good to be part of it. I might by no means come to Armenia in any other case. Or nicely, small likelihood. I by no means thought I might ever get to Maribor, not to mention Armenia. I did not even know the place it was, it is nonetheless fairly distant. It is usually very heat there, about forty levels. Effectively, that method you may see some locations.”
He didn’t instantly count on that Bergsen would now play with a file champion of European soccer a yr and a half in the past when he left the Netherlands behind. The goalkeeper from Oud-Beijerland stored objective for Sparta Rotterdam, FC Dordrecht and FC Eindhoven, the place he handed in his contract to play extra elsewhere. Tscheu La Ling’s AS Trencín picked him up on a free switch. “I went there to play extra and present myself. That went nicely, however typically much less so. I performed lower than I had hoped. It was an excellent option to go there. I skilled laborious daily, received higher after which that is the reward. Afterwards I’m very completely happy that I used to be with Trencín. I realized rather a lot there, as a goalkeeper and as an individual. I needed to grow to be unbiased and mature.”
Bergsen met the required Dutch individuals in Slovakia with Gideon van de Wee (efficiency coach), Aschraf El Mahdioui, Ryan Koolwijk, Ruben Ligeon and Gino van Kessel. “I used to be nicely acquired, but it surely was not essentially simple. The step was not too massive, to start with I performed each sport and it went very well. Life typically goes in ups and downs. I’ve had an harm and corona and did not at all times play. There have additionally been troublesome moments off the sector. Final yr I did not see anybody from my household for 3 months, as a result of the borders had been closed due to corona. However in the long run I feel it is value it, my household and girlfriend are behind me and are available by often if doable,” says Bergsen. Based on his personal phrases, the experiences overseas made him take a look at goalkeeping otherwise.
“Very detailed. At Trencín they wished me to play soccer and assault the ball, that is comparable with Maribor. I’ve modified in a great way, after I take a look at how I used to be in objective at Eindhoven and Dordrecht. That is not a world of distinction, however you study one thing totally different in all places. Supposing I had been to go to Russia now, I might additionally study one thing else. You are taking every little thing with you in your backpack, I additionally prefer to go to totally different locations. You study one thing from each tradition and goalkeeper coach”, Bergsen nods. After taking part in 9 video games for Trencín in a yr and a half, his contract expired final summer season. Each events determined in mutual session to not proceed with one another, in order that Bergsen may make a transfer-free switch. That switch was not lengthy in coming and that was partly due to Kris Stergulc, the Slovenian goalkeeper coach of Trencín.
Stergulc (‘actually nice, I realized rather a lot from him’) filmed the coaching classes at Trencín and likewise shared it with Mitija Pirih, his compatriot and colleague from Maribor. That finally led to a suggestion from the Slovenian membership. “I really did not hesitate. Maribor is a really massive membership. The largest membership I’ve performed up to now. I had an excellent dialog with the goalkeeper coach. All of it simply appeared actually good.” Maribor was not an unknown membership for Bergsen. In 2014 and 2017 Maribor was nonetheless energetic within the group stage of the Champions League and with fifteen league titles and 9 cups, it’s by far probably the most profitable membership in Slovenia. “You instantly discover that it’s a massive membership, every little thing is nicely organised. There may be somebody for every little thing, to rearrange issues. However there may be additionally somebody who picked me up on the resort and took me to the place I wanted to go. You simply have to consider soccer, the remainder might be taken care of.”
“Soccer is alive within the metropolis, you see Maribor banners within the vehicles. If you happen to converse to somebody, chances are high they seem to be a Maribor fan. I have been acknowledged a number of occasions. Not after I’m strolling down the road, however after I occurred to be within the fan store: ‘Hey, the keeper!’”, continues Bergsen. He shortly discovered his place in jap Slovenia, the place he moved into an condominium within the middle of Maribor after only a week. “I searched all types of web sites and located a very good condominium. That can be higher, in any other case you reside from a suitcase in your resort and that isn’t good. It’s a good and comfortable metropolis. Not very massive, however the middle is sweet. We often go into city with teammates, there are numerous good espresso retailers. The vibe good. I like Maribor higher than Trencín. As a result of it is greater, but it surely additionally has to do with me arriving in the summertime. Every part is exterior now. I do not know what it is like right here in winter, possibly it is corresponding to Trencín.”
Bergsen notes that the extent at Maribor is increased than at Trencín. “However that in itself is sensible. No agreements have been made about whether or not I would be the first or second goalkeeper. I got here as a goalkeeper and whoever is one of the best performs. It is not that I got here as a trainkeeper, not that. If I show myself and present myself, I will play too. I am not ruling out something, I’ve solely simply come right here and I’ve performed fairly a number of follow matches. That went nicely, so I am going to maintain doing my factor after which we’ll see. I hope finally to get even increased, that I will make minutes right here and play myself within the highlight. You do not know the way it goes, however that is the plan.” When Bergsen was added to the Maribor group app, it instantly grew to become clear what the objective is for this season.
“The group app is named ‘Maribor champion 2022’, so that’s the massive goal. If that works out, it’ll look nice on my resume and it is good to be part of it. It is extremely troublesome to foretell your future as a footballer. I did not know I would be right here a number of months in the past. That is what makes it enjoyable. I actually didn’t suppose after I left FC Eindhoven that I might come out of right here now”, Bergsen beams. The primary objective for this season is to make it to the Convention League group stage. And there Bergsen, who comes from the Rijnmond area, hopes for one particular opponent. “Feyenoord away could be nice. Such a situation could be good. Enjoying in De Kuip is fantastic. I as soon as sat on the sofa with FC Dordrecht once we performed a profit match in De Kuip. I might like to play a Convention League sport there.”