‘Never engaged in comparisons myself’
Once upon a time, Peer Koopmeiners was prominently featured in La Gazzetta dello Sport. By mistake. Because the renowned sports newspaper confused him with the two-year older Teun, who was in the interest of AS Roma.
To the outside world they also look very similar, the two soccer brothers. At AZ, Peer seemed to be the dream successor in the Alkmaar midfield after Teun’s departure, but it still hasn’t come to pass.
While Teun has been playing at the top of the Italian Serie A and the Champions League with Atalanta for some time now and has become an Orange international, Peer is fighting relegation with Excelsior.
“A conscious choice for premier league minutes,” said the youngest Koopmeiners (22) about his temporary move from Alkmaar to Rotterdam. “There’s also an option in the lease, but I’m not concerned with anything else right now other than those last six games.”
Something is expected of Koopmeiners at Excelsior. And that is allowed, he thinks. “I would have liked more at AZ and perhaps could have done more, but also joined the A-selection there when sporting expectations were high and there was stiff competition for my spot.”
So another environment is not so crazy. And Excelsior, the club that holds its own at the highest level with limited resources, does suit the thoughtful Koopmeiners.
I’m a bit more of a thinker, Teun is a bit more of a doer. Besides, I’m right-legged and he’s left-legged.
“There was interest before. So it quickly felt familiar here when I made the switch last winter. What appeals to me is that the basic principle here is to always want to make the game myself playing soccer. I’m a player who is always very thoughtful about that.”
“In that I also differ from Teun. I’m a little more of a thinker, he’s a little more of a doer. Besides, I’m right-legged and he’s left-legged. I do understand that comparisons are made, but that’s something we never really deal with ourselves.”
At home, the Koopmeiners family revolved a lot around sports. The two boys from the Castricum family left for AZ at an early age, so soccer dominated their childhood years.
Father Remco, working as a teacher at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, even specialized in sports psychology in the years when he closely followed his soccer-playing children.
“We all have a very close relationship from home. I talk to my dad a lot, but I don’t have the idea at all that I was raised by a sports psychologist. And if he ever did some tests on me, I didn’t even realize it.”
“And I also have a lot of support from my brother. The choice for Excelsior I also discussed with him extensively. The other day I was able to visit him again during a free weekend, really great how he is managing now. Of course that’s what you want yourself too.”
Of jealousy, however, there is no question. They are neat boys, those two from Koopmeiners.
“I remember it was thought funny that my brother once wished a journalist ‘good evening’ after an interview. Apparently they weren’t used to that. We are hard workers by birth, learned to treat people respectfully. That’s how we are ourselves.”
Together with brother Teun on the field
Naughty dreams they really do have. They would love to play some more games together.
“But no, it’s not that I specifically have clubs in my head. In soccer you have no influence on a lot of things. A friend from my time at AZ quit two years ago. Then I realized that I had never thought about that myself at all. Maybe I will become a trainer.”
As a soccer player, he is still in control. A true Koopmeiners does not succumb to a little extra pressure. And coach Marinus Dijkhuizen is open to his input, to avoid getting bogged down in all-or-nothing soccer with all good intentions.