Lieke Martens interview: Dutch dazzler and the Oranje airwave takeover

Photo courtesy of Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
Photo courtesy of Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC

Adapting to life with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, Netherlands attacker Lieke Martens has compatriots to lean on. The 21-year-old comes from a national team who took their opportunity last summer for some on-air mischief.

Since making her international debut in a friendly with China in August 2011, Lieke Martens has become a recognisable part of the Dutch national team. Euro 2013 was the skilful wide player’s first major tournament with the senior squad, and the former Heerenveen youngster played every minute of Netherlands’ three group games.

The competition may have ended before the knockout phase, but it was an important marker in Lieke’s career. Since the tournament, the 21-year-old has moved from FCR 2001 Duisburg in Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga to Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in the Damallsvenskan, Sweden’s top league.

In Gothenburg, she has two fellow Dutch players as teammates – goalkeeper Loes Geurts and striker Manon Melis. While Netherlands were taking part in Euro 2013, the players found their own way to keep it interesting off the field, as right-back Dyanne Bito was called in to steal the show.

“We made a joke with Dutch radio with the national team last summer,” Lieke explained. “After each game, one of us would call into a station to talk with the DJ, and after each conversation, the teammate that called in had to end the conversation by singing the Dutch national anthem.

“When it came time to sing, the player that had been speaking would hand the phone to Dyanne Bito so she could sing the anthem. The radio station was always surprised by how good her voice was!”

In Göteborg, the team’s keeper and aforementioned Dutch international was on hand to join Lieke for a memorable initiation performance.

“When I first came to Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, we had to do a dance and lip sync to a song. Along with my teammate, Loes Geurts, we danced and lip synced to ‘Tik Tok’ by Kesha.

“It was an interesting experience that I had a lot of fun with.”

One of the musical genres that has been referenced on a number of occasions by players on here (and generally not for the better!) is German schlager. Lieke, who left Duisburg at the end of last year, is another.

“I cannot think of any players in particular, but I do not like when schlager music comes on when I am trying to get ready for a game. Most of the time, my teammates in charge of DJing play music to get the team pumped up, which includes electronic dance music and techno.”


With seven goals for the Netherlands in her 36 caps, she played for VVV-Venlo as a teenager, before moving to Standard Liège in Belgium. Dutch music has featured fairly infrequently in the interviews on here, but Liverpool Ladies defender Corina Schröder did bring up one from the archives, in half-English, half-Dutch 90s boyband Caught in the Act.

The CD Lieke recalls as the first she ever bought is not quite as spectacularly nostalgic, but at least she had plenty of songs on it to choose from!

“When I was 11, I got my first CD, ‘Hitzone’, which is the monthly new top hits in Holland. I do not have a favourite artist but I really enjoy Beyoncé.

“I mostly like top 40 hits, like what you hear on the radio.”

The former Destiny’s Child lead singer would also be Lieke’s choice should she ever decide to record a song cover with a teammate. She opted to name a one-time VVV-Venlo colleague and national-team defender to sing it with her.

“I would do a cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’ with Kika van Es.”

After reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2009, last summer’s tournament was much less of an adventure for the Oranje. The Netherlands’ group contained two teams in Norway and Germany who would go on to contest the final, as well as Iceland, who made it through to the quarter-finals as the best-ranked third-placed team.

Lieke played every minute as the Dutch drew 0-0 with eventual winners Germany and lost 1-0 to Norway and Iceland. Now set on creating much better on-field memories of Sweden, her first goal for Göteborg came in the 3-1 win at home to Kristianstad on April 22nd.

She has already found much to be happy about overall since her arrival.

“So far, I have found Sweden to be very welcoming; I enjoy the people, the culture, and the city. I have really enjoyed going to the local amusement park, Liseberg, which is located only a few minutes away from my apartment.

“The language is not that easy to learn, but I am fortunate to be able to communicate with people in English. I like to go shopping and hang out with friends and teammates outside of football.

“Right now, my main focus is on achieving as much as possible in my football career.”

Although she does not turn 22 until December, she already has international-tournament experience, and has played in two of the world’s most prominent women’s leagues, in Germany and Sweden. As all players on here are asked to, she put together a 5-a-side line-up of the best she has played on the same team as in her career so far.

This question puts the player into the team, so we are looking for four of their teammates to go alongside them. Lieke selected a line-up that is as patriotic as Dyanne Bito’s version of the national anthem!

“Loes Geurts – she is a goalkeeper with footballing qualities and a good line keeper. Kika van Es – she is a defender who not only defends well but is also strong in the offensive part.

“Daniëlle van de Donk – she is a midfielder with a great insight and game concept on the pitch, and scoring ability. Manon Melis – with her speed she is hard for each defender to defend against and she scores easily.”

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