Top 10 nominees Cruyff Institute Media Award (Netherlands)

Over the year we collected the clippings of students, alumni and staff who were mentioned with their Johan Cruyff College, Johan Cruyff University or Johan Cruyff Institute in the Dutch printed press.

The subjects of the 10 stories that generated the most value in the media also makes up the list of nominees to win the Cruyff Institute Media Award 2015, the prize for the athlete that accumulated the highest value. We would like to thank everybody who mentioned our institutions! The final winner will be announced in November (through our social media).

Please enjoy the personal stories of this year’s top 10 athletes in the spotlight (nominees in alphabetical order):

1. Celeste Plak – Johan Cruyff College Nijmegen
Talented volleyball player is the newest weapon

Celeste Plak was only 18 years old when she had already become a regular player of the Dutch volleyball team. In September last year the student from the Johan Cruyff College played for the first time at a World Cup, where she received full support from more experienced and well-known players, such as Manon Flier. After the World Cup and graduation, she was fully prepared for a new step and completed a transfer to Foppapedretti Bergamo (Italy).

2. Danielle van de Donk – Johan Cruyff University Tilburg
Always prepared for The Game

In Canada in June 2015 the Dutch football team, better known as the ‘Orange Lionesses’, participated for the first time at a World Cup. Danielle van de Donk is a midfielder that can be characterized as an injury-prone and bad-tempered loser. “Give me medication and I´ll play,” she’ll say, doing everything possible to be part of a game and win. Still studying at the Johan Cruyff University and working towards her graduation, she completed a transfer from Dutch club PSV to Swedish FC Göteborg.

Diederick-Hagemeijer - sport marketing

3. Diederick Hagemeijer – Johan Cruyff University Tilburg
Ice hockey is unjustly neglected

The Tilburg Trappers are doing great after winning twice in a row both the national Championship and the Cup. Diederick Hagemeijer, a graduate from the Johan Cruyff University, combines playing for the Trappers with an e-commerce job at sponsor Destil. Although the club is doing great, it is a pity that we are seeing a decline in talented children choosing ice hockey. This is largely due to the national policy, with investment limited to sports that might obtain an Olympic medal, and that is very unfortunate. Ice hockey is a very technical sport for which you need a lot of patience and discipline. It’s also a very fast sport in which you can give everything of yourself.

4. Evgeniy Levchenko – Johan Cruyff College Groningen
Leaving Groningen as a wise man

After eight years of studying, former professional football player Evgeniy Levchenko graduated this year in Marketing and Communications at the Johan Cruyff College Groningen. The former midfielder travelled from Amsterdam to Groningen to pick up his diploma signed by Johan Cruyff. That the Ukrainian took eight years to complete his studies had nothing to do with his level of intelligence. His academic career was interrupted by his football adventures playing for FK Saturn Moscow and Adelaide United in Australia.

5. Frans Maassen – Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam
Coach says that Mike Teunissen shouldn’t have any more doubts

With colleague-coaches from the LottoNL-Jumbo team, Frans Maassen studied the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute last year. He is one of the coaches of professional cyclist Mike Teunissen, supporting him in his development. For Teunissen, who had a training setback last year due to a broken collarbone, the approach was completely new; more scientific with more power and performance testing and monitoring, although Mike Teunissen will always remain a cyclist that “listens to his body”.

Henk Grol Sport Marketing

6. Henk Grol – Johan Cruyff College Amsterdam
Addicted to training

Henk Grol is a judoka in the -100 kg category who participated in last year’s World Championships in Russia and the European Games in Baku (where he won gold). Henk is a training junkie and admits in interviews that top sport is unhealthy. Once when he was 17, he lost a game because he was in pain, and that same evening as he lay in bed he decided that he would never give up again because of physical problems. Henk graduated last year from the Johan Cruyff College. He wants to secure his place in Dutch judo, adding his name to the historic list “Geesink – Ruska – Huizinga”, so he´ll be going for Olympic gold.

7. Herman Kruis – Johan Cruyff College Roosendaal
“Our drive is our strength”

When Herman Kruis, field hockey coach at Push, announced that the first team had to train five times a week to get into the first league, 12 players pulled out. But last season the manager of the Johan Cruyff College Roosendaal achieved his goal. According to Herman, the whole Push squad all together earn the same as one Kampong star, but first things first and that means that the guys have to train hard and be disciplined to earn their credits. Meanwhile, Herman Kruis nowadays also balances his other jobs with coaching the Belarus women’s team.

8. Marco Neuvel – Johan Cruyff University Amsterdam
Starting Scopo Atletico football academy

Despite his talent as a football player, Marco Neuvel had to end his football career because of the many injuries he suffered. After graduating from the Johan Cruyff University and studying kinesiology and sports psychology, last year he founded with Rik Verhage Scopo Atletico, an academy for football talents that looks beyond the football field. Everything is trainable. Hockey, for example, helps good eye-hand coordination, and by alternating training on a traditional field with other surfaces such as indoor, street and artificial turf, you enhance the overall development of players.

Marlou van Rhijn Sport Marketing

9. Marlou van Rhijn – Johan Cruyff University Amsterdam
No different from anyone else

After winning the Olympic gold medal in London everybody knows her as the Blade Babe, but Marlou van Rhijn, currently studying at the Johan Cruyff University, is much more than an attractive athlete with two prosthetic legs. She trains hard on a daily basis with her able-bodied colleagues, because she learns more from them. The title Blade Babe was a label given her by the outside world, and although some might feel it’s ‘politically incorrect’, she considers it a compliment. She has also noticed that she has to be careful with her statements now, because with one slip-of-the-tongue that gets picked up by the media you can come across as an arrogant person.

10. Noël van Klaveren – Johan Cruyff College Amsterdam
Full on in gymnastics

As an elite gymnast you have a hard life. At a young age you only have one day off during the week. The other days you fill with training, school and more training. You suffer pain and injuries. The general public got to know Noël van Klaveren, a student of the Johan Cruyff College, when she won the silver medal at the European Championships in 2013, making her last year’s winner of the Media Award 2014. However, last year she suffered some personal setbacks. This year she’s fighting her way back to the top, with the European Championships and World Cup in mind, but above all dreaming that one big dream: to compete at the Olympics in Rio 2016.

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