Internationals. You don’t see them fairly often within the Promotion class. The lads of Victoria have Chilean Felipe Renz Boher, Sara Puglisi representing Italy and Orange-Purple this yr. However the girls of Had been Di even have an actual worldwide of their midst this season. Japanese Olympian Mai Toriyama (28) is fulfilling one in all her huge desires on the membership in Tilburg. “After all I miss household and associates, however I get pleasure from on daily basis right here.”
Tilburg’s Had been Di is called a heat membership. A the place conviviality is of paramount significance, however the place hockey can be practiced at a excessive stage. Seven years in the past, the women of Had been Di have been on the verge of promotion to the large league. It then misplaced the playoffs on penalties to Bloemendaal.
From firm to membership competitors
In recent times, Eric van der Pol’s crew has developed right into a secure mid-engine within the Promotion Class. It’s been going properly in latest seasons, however by no means made a fist. Not precisely a breeding floor for internationals, you’ll suppose. Toriyama thought in any other case.
Van der Pol: ‘Mai has two desires. Video games on the Olympic Video games in Paris in 2024 and enjoying within the Dutch competitors. Final season she was in touch with Joep van der Coelen, who was then assistant coach at Hurley. It didn’t come to a swap. When Joep, like me, began working at Had been Di this season, the ball began rolling.’
Issues didn’t go very quick with the arrival of Toriyama. Van der Pol: ‘We talked to her. Did she wish to play within the Promotion League? Did that match her ambitions? We had lots of contact with Japan. You don’t have golf equipment there, however they play an organization league. Was the extent of the Promotion Class excessive sufficient to remain within the race for the Paris Olympic squad? We mentioned these sorts of questions along with her and the employees of the Japanese nationwide crew.’
After all of the objections have been out of the blue, the deal was achieved. Van der Pol: ‘The extent of the Promotion Class turned out to be about the identical as that of the corporate competitors in Japan. For Mai it was an absolute dream to return to the Netherlands to play hockey right here. The benefit of enjoying at a barely decrease stage is that she will get lots of enjoying minutes throughout all matches. Within the huge leagues, we’ll simply have to attend and see.’
Toriyama lives with crew supervisor Gérard Opstelten this yr. Van der Pol: ‘Mai receives Dutch classes from his spouse. She additionally learns to talk English. We as a membership have tried to assist her as a lot as attainable in her sporting ambitions from the beginning. She trains herself on daily basis within the morning. Then she does working and her personal hockey drills. As well as, I give two further afternoon coaching periods. If these further efforts result in her enjoying within the huge league subsequent yr, we’ll solely applaud that as a crew and membership.’
Toriyama herself doesn’t cover her ambitions. ‘After all I would favor to play on the highest stage within the Netherlands’, she says, whereas the interview takes place by way of Google Translate . She interprets each query into Japanese. The solutions return to English by way of Japanese. “On the identical time, I’m very grateful to play within the Promotion League and to be a part of this crew. I understand that I study and develop quite a bit because of them.’
Though the interpretation applications nonetheless have for use every day, in response to the Japanese, the language barrier shouldn’t be an impediment, neither inside nor outdoors the strains. “I’ve clear concepts about the best way I wish to play. I barely converse English, however my teammates do their finest to grasp me. They’re very good and open.’
Coach Van der Pol agrees along with his pupil’s phrases. “It’s a trade-off. Mai’s perspective is nice. Within the area, she all the time acts in the perfect curiosity of the crew. She isn’t egocentric. As well as, she participates absolutely in all social actions. From carnival to King’s Day. On the identical time, the crew is social, open and enjoyable. Furthermore, they discover it attention-grabbing and funky to see how a global like Mai approaches hockey.’
Get pleasure from on daily basis
Toriyama is the one participant of Had been Di who has no work or examine obligations. ‘Once I’m not enjoying hockey, I study English or Dutch, I am going to a café or I go to different cities. After all, I miss my household and associates typically. However as a result of I’ve so many good individuals round me in Tilburg, I get pleasure from my life right here on daily basis.’
Her first season within the Netherlands is sort of over for the Japanese striker, the crew’s high scorer with seven objectives. With Had been Di, she remains to be preventing for enforcement. The Tilburgers at the moment are ninth, with the identical variety of factors as quantity ten Leonidas. Toriyama: ‘Subsequent yr I wish to play within the Dutch league once more. I don’t know the place but.’
Van der Pol: ‘You would like a participant like Mai the perfect. And irrespective of how the season ends, for us as a crew, her presence was and is a beneficial addition. Together with her attacking drive and high sports activities mentality, however actually additionally her social persona, she evokes everybody round her.’