16. 04. 2019

Pietersen for WoV: “I’ll miss competition, but my desire to build up new life is bigger now“

Source: Photo: Judith Pietersen/Facebook, ANP

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It is always disappointing news when volleyball player decides to end a professional career at the age of 29. Especially when a player of indisputable quality makes that kind of decision. That is exactly the case with the Dutch Judith Pietersen.


Pietersen will be remembered as a part of the Dutch Women’s Volleyball national team that played an eye-catching volleyball a few years ago which brought her country a silver medal in the 2015 CEV European Championships and bronze medal in the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix. The Dutch national team nearly won a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Pietersen competed in five top-flights in Europe, mostly in Italy where she won the national title with Igor Gorgonzola Novara in 2017 and where she ended her career.

What made you decide to end your career at the age of 29? It seems that you still have a lot more to show in terms of playing…

“It feels good like this, I’m satisfied. I played all the big tournaments, I was able to play in different countries and live in different cultures. It was an amazing time and now, I would like to do other things in life.“

This is not the first time that you have decided to end your career. The first time was in 2017 and it was temporarily because you wanted to finish your university studies. What you missed most in connection to volleyball back then and what do you think that you will miss most now?

“Yes, I knew at that time that it was temporarily. I never had time to do an internship to finish my studies. First, it was good to have a break and more time with the people that are important for me. Later, I remember that I watched one match in Novara, and I felt that this was what I wanted to do again for some time. I missed the competition and the lifestyle of playing sports. I think that I will still miss those things a bit sometimes, but the desire to build up a new life is bigger now.“


At the time when you defended its colors, the Dutch national team was considered one of the most appealing teams to watch, internationally. What moments would you single out as the most memorable from that period?

“The most memorable moments were the silver medal in the European Championship and the fourth place in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The European Championship we played in the Netherlands for our great home public. The Olympics were simply an unforgettable experience, and we really got everything out of it, we never stopped to fight.“

You were part of Novara squad that won the historic championship title, the only one so far, in Italy. When someone mentions this success, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

“That was so amazing to win! Maybe even more because it was a bit unexpected. We finished on the third place in the regular championship and every time that we came closer to the title it was kind of a surprise. When we won the title in the end, we were very happy.“

When we talk about your career abroad, it seems that you felt the most comfortable while playing in Italy. The number of seasons that you spent there speaks in favor of that. Was it like that, really?

“All the countries that I played in gave me a great experience. First Germany, that was still a bit closer to my own culture; Poland, where for the first time I had to deal with not knowing a language; Turkey, where I could experience their beautiful and warm culture. And then Italy. In Italy, I really like the atmosphere, you always go to eat or drink something, people are open. Also, I think that where you are playing depends a bit on the chances you get or where they know you.“

Which teammates and coaches, including your volleyball beginnings and youth categories, will you remember most?

“That is hard to say because here, I would like to mention many people! I learned a lot from all my teammates and coaches. The most special ones will recognize themselves because I’m still in contact with them and some will be friends for life.“

You used to write online blogs that promoted a healthy lifestyle. What would you advice to girls who plan to be professional volleyball players in terms of a healthy lifestyle?

“True, that was a long time ago! My idea about having a healthy lifestyle is to enjoy life. That gives you energy and then you will not be too focused on it. Sometimes you will not be healthy, it’s only important that most of the times you try to be healthy.“

Check out more interviews.


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