The Netherland's Boy's U19 side has
been described as a "growing and
blossoming" side by its local press
and the fact that the 2003 Boy's U19 World
Championships will be the first time the
Boy's Youth championship features a
Netherlands side is testament to the
potential of this team.
2000 until now the Netherlands have been
on a rigorous qualification schedule
starting with an eight-nation tournament
in Germany, where under head coach Frans
Gierveld they finished fifth.
In January 2001 under head coach Teun
Beijs they played a European qualification
tournament in Italy, playing against Spain,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and the
hosts where they finished a good second
just behind Volleyball superpower Italy
but was not enough for qualification.
In May 2001, they participated in a
second European qualification tournament
in Slovakia where they finished third
behind Slovakia and the Czech Republic,
making sure the Orange Boys had to give
everything to qualify for the European
In July 2001 they had the possibility
to secure a spot in a qualification
tournament at home but they only finished
In May 2002 they had another chance in
Zagreb to qualify for the European
championships, but their third place
finish behind Germany and Croatia was
still not enough.
In July 2002 the Orange Boys went to
Belgium for an eight-country tournament
and finished second again behind Italy.
But in January 2003, they finally found
success where the Netherlands qualified,
for the first time in their history, for
the European Championships with three
straight wins in a qualification
tournament in France.
A 3-0 win over Portugal was, according
to captain Jeroen Rauwerdink, a very easy
match and was soon followed by two more
straight set wins over France and Austria.
All eyes were now on Zagreb and the
European Championships in April, where the
Netherlands started disappointingly with
two losses to Germany and Poland to
effectively lose all possibility of
winning a medal.
However the first win in the tournament
against the host team Croatia took the
Netherlands to third in their group of
four and went into the playoffs on top
form beating Slovakia 3-2. That result
qualified the Netherlands for the World
Championship for the first time in its
history as they were guaranteed to finish
amongst the best six teams in Zagreb but
the true determination of this side shone
through as they also won the match for the
5th-6th playoff against the Czech Republic
in a 3-2 thriller showing their high level
The Netherlands are coming off four
preparation matches against Brazil at the
end of May and under new coach Gido
Vermeulen will be eager to continue the
growth and development that has been so
evident over the past three years.