SCHC’s leurink retires from glittering career in Orange

SCHC’s Laurien Leurink has decided to step back from the international stage following an outstanding career for the Netherlands, winning gold on all fronts.

It follows 133 caps, 29 goals, Olympic gold in 2021, World Cup success twice and three European Championship titles.

No one in the current Oranje selection gave more assists than Leurink and she saved her best pass for what proved to be her last international match, setting up Frédérique Matla to score against Argentina in last summer’s World Cup final.

Speaking about her decision to retire to, she said: “After years of sacrifice, I feel the time has come for the next step in my life. From the beginning of my international career, I have always given 100 percent, but I am now 28 years old and I notice that my priorities are shifting. 

“I had doubts about it for a long time because something as beautiful as a career in orange will, of course, never come back. But I feel this is the right choice.”

She gave it time to make her decision: The fire was still burning somewhere, so I wanted to give it a chance. I was also curious about [new coach] Paul [van Ass]. That’s why I joined the Oranje before the winter break.”

Shae had planned to travel to Argentina for a camp in December but life took a drastic turn. 

Her sister Marije was diagnosed with cancer and so she stepped out of that trip as well as one to South Africa in January.

“When you are confronted with such personal circumstances, it almost automatically makes the choice a little easier. My sister’s illness has changed my outlook on life.  

“It ensured that the doubt that was already there whether I wanted to continue only increased.

“I watched the games in Argentina from the couch at home. Instead of regretting not being there, I felt more like a spectator. I felt much less the urge to be on that field myself. It’s fine this way.

“I can look back very positively on my international career. I’ve experienced great moments, won great prizes, played in great teams and made friendships for life. It is a privilege to represent your country. I am also grateful to my family, my friends and my boyfriend, who have always been there for me.”

On the club front, her side moved three points clear at the top of the women’s Hoofdklasse last weekend with a 3-1 win over Tilburg.

Second placed AH&BC Amsterdam drew 2-2 with Den Bosch in third in a classic battle at Oosterplas. 

SCHC and Amsterdam are back in action in midweek with Wednesday night fixtures. The former make the short trip to Utrecht to face SV Kampong while Amsterdam host Klein Zwitserland.

SCHC – Tilburg 3-1