After a hugely successful 15 year career, Netherlands star Minke Smeets (née Smabers) has ended her international hockey career following the recent announcement that she is expecting her first child in June 2011. The midfielder is yet to decide on her playing future in the Rabo Hoofdklasse, where she plays for MHC Laren.
The vice-captain of the Dutch women’s team played 312 international matches, scoring 23 goals in the process. According to the KNHB, Smeets is the first and currently only Dutch women with more than 300 international matches to her name. Smeets has been part of the Netherlands team for 13 years, with her highlights being the World Cup victory in 2006 and the Olympic gold that her team achieved at Beijing 2008.
She represented The Netherlands at three Olympic Games, four World Cups and five European championships.
‘The KNHB would like to congratulate Minke and her husband Tjerk about their fantastic news. The Hockey Federation is very grateful for Minke’s contribution to the Dutch national team. With her relentless efforts, she was a fine role model for so many players.’
Picture: Minke Smeets being interviewed by Oli Rogers at the 2010 World Cup
Hall of Fame
Smeets made her debut on 29 June 1997 under her maiden Minke Smabers against South Korea. With the Dutch national team she won virtually every top prize in the game.
· Olympic Champion in 2008
· World Champion in 2006
· European Champion in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2009
· Champions Trophy in 2000, 2004 and 2007
Smeets began her hockey career at HDM Hockey Club, 1996-1997 season before making the switch to the MHC Laren in 1997. Smeets has now played with Laren for an incredible fourteen seasons, winning the national title 11 times as well as the European Cup II in 2004.
Source Material: KNHB Media Release