‘Helps me become better person’
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Royston Drenthe played for Feyenoord, Real Madrid and once got to wear the shirt of the Dutch national team. Now he is back in the Netherlands and training with amateur club Kozakken Boys in Werkendam.
But the 35-year-old left-winger is certainly not only busy with soccer. In fact, Drenthe now also works in healthcare, as a self-employed worker. “My whole family has always been in care,” he explains of his choice.
“Aunt Helen is a nurse. My mother and aunt work in care. A few years back I was already thinking, ‘Why don’t I go do training and courses too and see what that does to me?'”
It didn’t stop at training and courses. The soccer player also wanted to “go and see what it’s like on the shop floor.” Most recently, Drenthe was working on a ward for people with dementia. “There was an old lady who was scaring the fellow clients. She was a little aggressive. That’s where I supervise.”
And Drenthe likes that workplace. “Because I see a whole other side of the world. It helps me with becoming a better person in this society.”
“I’ve always been used to the glamour in soccer,” Drenthe looks back on his long soccer career. He then answers confidently with “definitely” when asked if it enriches him as a person.
“And that’s what I was looking for. I struggled a lot at the end of my career,” he acknowledges. “The fact that you know what you want to do, but the moment you start something you wonder if this is really what you like. I think that’s because you can’t quite let go of soccer yet. That comes with steps.”
Drenthe began his professional career at Feyenoord. In 2007, he left for Real Madrid. Then followed a long adventure along more than ten professional clubs. He played for Vladikavkaz, Everton and Sparta, among others. The last years he spent in Murcia with smaller professional clubs.
Soccer hasn’t quite let go of Drenthe. He regained his fitness at Kozakken Boys and has resolved to join the amateur club next season. “I still feel like having another blast for another year,” he said.