Frederique Matla:

Started from the bottom
now we are here


"No need for a lot of friends around me" "I only celebrate when there is something to celebrate"

Interview: Muriël Kuypers  Photography: Ed Mohogany

Age of 7

I come from a sporty family. My father and brother played football and my mother and other brother hockey. My grandmother played with the Dutch national hockey team. At that time, they were still playing on grass with a wooden stick, but it is quite funny and proves that having hockey genes really does exist. "I have hockey genes"

 

Age of 10

The potential was there very early. My own mother was my coach for a while and thought that I had to pass the ball neatly. While other coaches let me run around and score goals. That way I always ended up in a team with a lot of older girls. My whole youth I was the "youngster" of every team. "I always was the youngster, the outsider"

 

Age of 13

Around the age of thirteen I was asked for the first Women’s team at my club in Valkenswaard. We lived near the club and I spent literally every free moment on the field with my stick. After barely a year at that level, I was asked by Den Bosch to play hockey with them. My babysitter, Liedewij Welten, was so impressed by my hockey game that she had put in a good word for me.

 

"I always was the youngster, the outsider"

 

Age of 14

When I resolutely chose to go to the top sports school at the age of fourteen to continue to make the combination with hockey possible, I almost immediately joined ladies 1 Den Bosch. At the same time, I was allowed to start for the national team and I played the Youth Olympics in China. The combination of school, club and national hockey made my schedule incredible hectic. Fortunately, my parents were behind it and they drove me from one place to another for hours. I was not really concerned with the prestige of playing for the Dutch national team. I particularly enjoyed it and I was just good at it. Hockey was never a prestige for me, it's something I'm just good at.

 

Age of 15

My last three years of secondary school, I followed individual education with a number of other top athletes. You don't make friends through school and my social life was non-existent. Fortunately, I have never felt the need for a group of friends around me. I never drank, I didn't go to parties and I didn't make a whole lot of teenage sins. I was simply not concerned with it. I didn't have the average profile of a teenager. Top sport came first for me and my social life was secondary. You do not miss that partying, because you just do not know it. Now I can intensely enjoy a nice party, but only after a victory. I am certainly a late bloomer on every level. I only celebrate when there is something to celebrate.

 

"No need for a lot of friends around me" "I only celebrate when there is something to celebrate"

 

Age of 17

Getting my driver's license at seventeen was also about sport. Drive yourself from club to training to competition. Everything is dedicated to sports, always, everywhere and always. Of course I also occasionally have an off day, then it is nice that you play a team sport and you can count on the others. "My life is all about my sport"

 



Age of 21

We all work hard for it. The winner's mentality, it is ingrained yes. It must matter, of course. I certainly choose my battles in that regard. Some see you collapse under pressure. I just need pressure. I always need the pressure.

 

I have two goals:

become a champion and win.

Do I have to leave everything I like? Food is my life. I am never hungry but always have appetite. ALWAYS. If I skip a meal once, I can, but I don't live on greens only. From breakfast I am busy with lunch and after lunch with dinner. I live from meal to meal. The fat weight test. It is important of course, but if you perform, you will not get into trouble with it that easily. If you do not perform, that will of course become a thing. Ben and Jerry’s and blue m&m's are my guilty pleasures. I would always prefer to eat that but then I think: Nah, I’ll take some tasty carbohydrates again. You really know yourself what is possible and what is not possible, and how your body works.

"I am always hungry, food is my life"

My skills? I am fast and explosive. I can provide a good pass to a lot of people in offensive actions. I have a good backhand shot. I now drag the penalty corners and I am very unpredictable. I always keep an overview between my pass and promotion. I am not a team player. I don't easily give things away. I find it so useful that when you are in the field, you can finish it yourself. That used to be like this with teamwork. Teamwork? Help! Then I have to give something away. I'd rather do it myself. "I'm not a team player." People will sometimes blame me for being unkind. I can only say that it is true. I'm at my best when I can do my own thing. That defines me. That independence. I have enough for myself. I am not friendly


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