Playing the beautiful game in Delft

An international student and Ariston ‘80 striker on why football is good for you.

Life and studying at TU Delft is only about reports and deadlines, assignments and exams. True or false? False! It’s in fact about creating a balance between academic and social life, which is often neglected by many new international students.

Sports, like football, help ensure this crucial balance requisite for success here.
Ideas anyone? Football has been called the ‘beautiful game’, a unifier of people, nations and races. Bill Shankly, the late great manager of Liverpool even went so far as to say that football is a matter of life and death! And in Delft the game is taken seriously too, as my first year playing for TU Delft’s football team Ariston ‘80 revealed.

So why opt to join the Ariston ’80 football club? Well, it’s is a great way to meet new people and integrate when you arrive to study at TU Delft. More importantly, it’s a great way of lightening the academic pressures and the stressful specter of boredom, nostalgia or the dreadfully lonely experience that many international students face after arriving here. Ultimately the friends and people one meets while playing sports often become your best friends and mates during your stay in Delft.

Not convinced yet? The Ariston ’80 football club has both men’s and women’s teams that play in the KNVB (the Royal Dutch Football Federation) organized league. The matches are played on Saturdays, and practices held at night during the week. The Ariston ’80 football club is well organized and run by professional coaches and trainers who monitor each player’s development and progress. Most importantly, the club is open to players of all skill levels, irrespective of your experience in the beautiful game.
Still need convincing? During the season the teams play competitive yet exciting matches, both home and away, in towns and cities around Delft, which is also a great way to discover Holland and its people, and at the end of each match the players from both teams drink and chat together. And at the end of the season the club also organizes a great BBQ and parties for all its members
Convinced now? To join in on the fun, potential members of Ariston ’80 club first need to buy a TU Delft Sports Centre card. Next, the new player is expected to show up on one of the designated training days – tuesdays and thursdays at 20:00 for practice. Lateness is strongly frowned upon. The new player then goes through a series of trials to access his or her skill levels. This assessment then helps the coaches assign you to a team within the club that best fits your skill level. However, if playing in an organized team or the league setup isn’t your thing, there is also the option of just joining in on the training days for a kick around or practice matches.

Personally, my experience of playing for Ariston ’80 has been very exciting and helped create a much-needed balance between my academic and social lives. Since joining the team, my list of friends grew quickly, as I began playing with people from all over the world. The experience of playing with and against Dutch guys in various Dutch cites and towns also greatly expanded my knowledge of Dutch culture in many ways. And what’s more, my studies also improved because my academic and social balance was right. Now isn’t football a truly beautiful game?  


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