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Squamish soccer player takes his game to the Netherlands

As of August, Colby Venekamp is playing for amateur Dutch team SV Capelle.
Colby Venekamp
Colby Venekamp in action with Dutch amateur team SV Capelle.

A Squamish athlete is pursuing his soccer dream in the Netherlands, after having been recruited by Dutch amateur team SV Capelle.

As of this year, Colby Venekamp has moved abroad to play for the team, which is based in Sprang-Capelle.

"It's a very good feeling," said Venekamp. "I'm excited. It's a great experience. So far, everything's been really amazing. I'm getting to play at a higher level than I've played before, so it's exciting. It's a really great feeling being here playing at a higher level."

Previously, the 17-year-old had been playing soccer with B.C.'s European Football School, which had flown across the pond to compete against European teams.

A scout had spotted Venekamp in 2018 and started keeping in touch with the Squamish athlete's coach.

The scout kept in touch and maintained an interest in how Venekamp was developing as a player.

Eventually, he wanted Venekamp to go to the Netherlands for a tryout.

The recent high school grad started training with the men's team this past August.

After about two weeks, the coach, the president, team manager and scout offered him a spot on the squad.

"I was happy to accept that, and now I've just been staying here, training with the team, getting ready for the season," he said on Sept. 17.

Every week, Venekamp undergoes two training sessions, with a game on the weekend.

The amount of soccer hasn't necessarily changed compared to his playing in Canada, he said, but the standard is higher.

"It's a lot quicker pace, more intense and a lot more physical training," said Venekamp. "I can definitely notice the difference in level going from playing on any team in Canada to playing here. The level here is much higher."

When he's not playing soccer, he's trying to get out and explore his new surroundings, while sharpening his Dutch.

For Venekamp, it's been a very positive experience.

"Really, it's all just one big highlight," he said.

"Everything's been really amazing, from the first training session to the first game...It's a great group of guys. Everyone's really nice."