FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP TAHITI 2013
20 Sep 2013
ROEL & DIEGO LIEFDEN
Like Father Like Son
A unique opportunity has father Roel and son Diego in the same profession and on the verge of history. "No my father never pushed me in one direction or another. He always said he would be proud of me no matter my career choice", boasts Diego Liefden.
A doctor. A fireman. An astronaut. A professional athlete. Now, these are all jobs that many of us imagined having when we grew up. Maybe even some of our parents nudged us that way. Sure, many people do have these jobs and attained that goal, but how many of those people have the chance to work directly with their father? In the same building or office even? That number drops significantly when dealing with a National sports team.
The Liefdens of The Netherlands have just that. They are a father and son duo who both play defense for the Dutch National Beach Soccer team. In addition, in this upcoming 2013 Tahiti Beach Soccer World Cup Roel will become the oldest player to play in a World Cup. At 46 years old he will also have the rare chance to play alongside his son, Diego, who is half his age, 23. Diego was given the good fortune to play with his father just last year when he was called upon to play for The Netherlands National Selection in its World Cup qualifier.
Holland qualified for the World Cup and beginning on Thursday Diego and Roel will take on the worlds? best competition together. Rest assured that Diego does not take it easy on Roel just because he is his father, "Oh I will yell at him if he is out of position. But it just feels weird."
Diego and Roel both had similar paths to success with the National Beach Soccer team. They both rose through the ranks of 11 vs 11 football and then became defenseman for a Dutch team participating in the World Cup. It is somewhat of a coincidence that Diego settled into the same position in Beach Soccer. Diego reflects, "Well my father was continually teaching me but nothing specific besides respect. He taught me that and emphasized its importance on and off the field."
The road is not over for either Liefden as the World Cup approaches and do not expect any family drama to get in the way of The Dutch making a deep run in the World Cup. The Dutch storyline with the oldest player who just happens to have a son on the team also is one to follow in Tahiti. What is one big benefit of working with your father? Only one person has to make the call back to mom telling her how the day was. Diego jokes. "Ya my dad texts. Sometimes he will let my mom know and sometimes I will. It works really well."