The men’s soccer program at Shawnee State inked its first international signing of the 2020 recruiting class with the signing of Thierry van den Bergh, who officially announced his intent to join the program from DVS’33 U19 by way of Ermelo, Netherlands.
van den Bergh, who will be a defender for the Bears, has starred not only for DVS’33, but PEC Zwolle Youth and the PEC Zwolle U17 unit in seasons past. He’ll add experience to a backline that will be losing senior defenders Chris Jones, Bryce Romanello, and Hunter Miles to graduation, as well as Jacob Perry, who started as a defensive midfielder.
“It means a lot,” van den Bergh said. “I’m already super excited and cannot wait to begin at SSU. I’m thrilled to experience a new culture in the United States and meet individuals from various backgrounds.”
van den Bergh, who has played soccer since he was four years of age, starred for PEC Zwolle, where they, with van den Bergh’s assistance, won the league championship twice. In 2017, van den Bergh transferred from PEC Zwolle to DVS’33, a third division amateur club in Ermelo.
van den Bergh’s connections with fellow Dutchmen in Kevin de Lange, Thomas de Graauw, and Mark de Graff, along with the personal connection that was established with Center for International Programs and Activities Director Ryan Warner, made the decision to choose Shawnee State an easy one.
“What really attracted me was the feeling with SSU overall,” van den Bergh said. “The Dutch guys that already play there really made me feel comfortable. And the chats I had with Ryan Warner felt really sincere and good. I was really attracted by the goals everyone set for the coming season, and the way that they wanted to make those goals become a reality. I also really liked the opportunities they had for choosing the optimal study program.”
Overall, van den Bergh’s ready to make an impact similar to his fellow countrymen — both on and off of the pitch.
“I really hope to be a benefit to the team and show my worth and skills,” van den Bergh said. “I really would like to become Mid-South Conference Champions and win as many games as possible. Another thing I am happy about is the opportunity to make new friends. I’m really excited to meet everyone. From an academic standpoint, I really hope to get my degree and finish my study with a sense of pride. I can look back with a big smile if I accomplish all of these things!”