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“For a Year”: Virgil van Dijk Reflects on his Time as a Dishwasher

“For a Year”:  Virgil van Dijk Reflects on his Time as a Dishwasher

If you live somewhere in Breda, Netherlands and one fine morning you have this wish to go back in time and somehow manage to pull it off, don’t be surprised if you see Virgil van Dijk washing dishes at a local restaurant. Yes, the same van Dijk who plays for Liverpool FC and is one of the finest defenders of the modern generation.

While the time travelling part might be a dream, van Dijk’s life as a dishwasher was far from tales of a sad soap opera. It was the life he had before he became a household name. When van Dijk was only 11, his father left the family.

For some time, little Virgil stayed with his father before ultimately returning to his mother, who had a problem raising him and his two siblings. With the little money his mother, Hellen Chin Fo Sieeuw had, it was far from enough to maintain a family of four.

So van Dijk took the job of a dishwasher at a local restaurant for £2.50 an hour. He trained with the Groningen youth side on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with matches on Saturday, leaving Wednesday and Sunday free for his dishwashing job.

His past life again came to the surface in the latest episode of the “We Love Orange” show on SBS6. The Dutch channel invited the national team to the show before they left for Germany to compete in the 2024 UEFA Euro.

When van Dijk was asked about his dishwashing job and its duration, he replied, “Yes, for a year, but I enjoyed it! This is part of life too, it makes you appreciate things.”

Virgil here mentioned his time in 2011 when he finally left the job and signed his first professional contract with FC Groningen.

Since then, Virgil has never had to look back, as he is now a full-fledged legend of the game who is universally loved on the red side of Merseyside.

Apart from his work, Virgil also sheds light on the difficulties the players face without their families during the big tournaments.

Former NT coach, Louis van Gaal made a rule that the players would be allowed to meet their families after the first and the third game of the tournament, once they’re done with their recovery sessions.

The former Celtic defender revealed that current boss Ronald Koeman has agreed to keep that going as this has been an important year for many of the players who have tasted their life in fatherhood. 

The Oranje brigade were left disappointed last time out in the 2020 edition with their first knockout round elimination and this time they will face a tougher group compared to the last one.

Captain van Dijk’s story of his rise to prominence from being a mere restaurant worker can be the motivation his peers needed for the tough tasks ahead.

Now at 32, there might still be a few good years left in VVD, but when he wraps up his career, everyone will remember where he came from and what he became, inspiring the young talents who are fighting tooth and nail to make it one day.