Laura Aarts will return to the Dutch national team. That is the first time since her departure in the summer of 2019. She is already training with the Orange-squad this week.
The return is striking, because she had previously indicated that she was done with top sport. In 2019 she had a difference of opinion with national coach Arno Havenga about her route to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. That is why Havenga did not select her for the World Cup and not after that.
At the time, 25-year-old Aarts played for Dunaujvaros. In the summer of 2020 she went back to the Netherlands to play in a team of friends at a lower level for fun. “Gradually I got peace of mind again and also a clearer picture of what I still want in my life. After an invitation of the new national coach Evangelos Doudesis, we had a pleasant conversation,” says Aarts. “I saw opportunities again and top sport started to itch again.”
“The main reason for returning is simply that playing water polo at the highest level is still what my heart desires. I also support the idea of Evangelos that it should be possible to combine top sport with a (part-time) study.”
National coach Doudesis: “Laura is only 25 and potentially still one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I think she can play an important role towards the World Cup in Fukuoka and the European Championship in Split.”
Aarts won silver with the Dutch national team at the World Cup in 2015 and at the European Championship in 2016 and in 2018 she became European champion. After that last tournament, she was named best goalkeeper.