Old Club: LSUS Shreveport, Miami Dutch Lions, Willem II, USV Hercules
"California Dreamin" at CSU Eastbay
A new start
Niek de Jong has embarked on a new adventure in America. Last summer, with the assistance of Plus31 Sports, he made the transfer from LSU Shreveport (NAIA) to the NCAA D2 school California State East Bay. The talented footballer from Bilthoven plays his matches in the Golden State and has already made quite an impact. His new team had a strong season start, winning five out of the first seven matches.
CSU East Bay
Currently, Niek de Jong is studying and playing soccer at CSU East-Bay, a school located in Hayward, California, in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Students here have access to a wealth of cultural and professional opportunities. It is home to many leading tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla, offering numerous options in technology and innovation. When football and studies take a back seat, you can visit the famous NBA club, the Golden State Warriors.
Back in the Netherlands
Niek began his football career in the Netherlands with his local club DOSC, then progressed through the youth academy of USV Hercules. Before heading to America, he spent a year playing for the professional club Willem 2. Last season, Niek returned to his old youth love, DOSC, for half a year, helping the club maintain its position, and then he played for the Miami Dutch Lions in the summer. The technically gifted midfielder caught the eye in Florida and received an 'all-conference' award at the end of the season.
A player’s perspective
We asked Niek about his experience, the differences with the Netherlands, and if he has any tips for you! "So far, my experience here in California has been fantastic. We live like professionals: we train every day, fly to matches, and stay in beautiful hotels. Last week, we even flew to Hawaii for two matches! The biggest difference I've experienced compared to the Netherlands is that you can combine your studies and sports here, and it's a way of life. You need to win, so you feel the pressure to perform. If you have the opportunity to take this step, go for it! I don't think anyone will regret it. In the worst case, you've developed yourself as a person. Your English improves, and you learn to adapt to different cultures because you often have multiple nationalities on your team. You also make friends for life, scattered all over the world!"
We're proud of Niek and his adventure so far. We wish him much success in the upcoming season, and we hope to see him in America again soon!