Right in Vlaardingen, Feyenoord opponents Sjachtar began the new season

Right in Vlaardingen, Feyenoord opponents Sjachtar began the new season
Shachtar Donetsk’s players before the game with Fortuna Sittard

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NOS Football

A Champions League club training at an amateur club: it happened to SV CWO this summer. Indeed, the Vlaardingen soccer club, which plays in the smoke of Rotterdam, hosted Ukrainian Shachtar Donetsk for two weeks last summer.

That club is Feyenoord’s opponent tomorrow night in the Europa League eighth finals. Despite the warm ties with the Ukrainians, SV CWO president Bianca Post still hopes the Rotterdammers win: “But we are not sad if Shachtar Donetsk goes through. We heartily wish that club well,” she concludes.

Shachtar could not prepare for the new soccer season in their own country because of the war, so contact was made with amateur club SV CWO. Post received mail in June from PR Sport, an organization that arranges training camps for foreign soccer clubs, among other things, but was initially reluctant.

“That email said that organization had a ‘fantastic deal and offer’ for CWO. Every club gets spammed with this,” she told Rijnmond.

Shachtar Donetsk pauses in Vlaardingen to remember war victims

It was only when Post discussed the proposal with her husband that she understood it was about a Champions League club. “I saw his eyes glaze over at that name. So apparently it was about a Champions League team.”

“I really had no idea. Then I called in the board and head coach Jeff Stans, and they got shiny eyes then, too. They immediately said we had to do this.” The Vlaardingen club’s board and head coach immediately gave permission to the club from Ukraine.

‘Stony in perception, bonding and atmosphere’

The amateur club has received compensation for the stay of the Ukrainians, but stresses that it has by no means become rich from it: “We did become rich in experience, bonding and atmosphere. CWO has gained volunteers. Young boys have risen within the club. CWO has gained exposure and goodwill. That is priceless,” says Post.

Supporters in the stands of SV CWO

And also the Ukrainian club was satisfied with how everything was organized in Vlaardingen. “Not only for CWO, but also for Sjachtar this was special. That team had not played for months because of the war, because the league was shut down.”

Post noticed, in part through a conversation with the team manager, that the players and trainers did take some getting used to upon arrival in Vlaardingen. “The man had stress in his body and arrived in Holland, where everyone was cheerful and sociable.”

“The guy really had to shift gears the first few days. We literally saw him thaw out. It was all uncomfortable and crazy.”

Whether Shachtar will report back to Vlaardingen ahead of the game with Feyenoord? “Just after the draw I commented on Shachtar Donetsk’s Instagram account that they may come here to train.” But so far the club has not taken advantage of that offer.

Kayleigh Williams