The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) is intensifying its drive to position and promote women's football following the appointment of national team captain Daphne Koster to a new staff role.
Koster, 30, previously worked for the KNVB from 2008 to 2010, helping to develop women's football, and has returned to the national association in a bid to further nurture what is now the largest team sport for women in the Netherlands, with 125,000 registered players. She was at the heart of the defence when the Netherlands reached the UEFA Women's EURO 2009 semi-finals on their major tourmament debut.
Capped 118 times, Koster is bidding to help the Oranje qualify for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in Sweden and joined local club Telstar this season after a summer in the United States with Sky Blue FC. The former AZ Alkmaar player was impressed by what she saw in America.
"I saw in the USA that clubs want to get closer to their fans," Koster said. "That is what we do at Telstar when we sign autographs after each match. And after home matches of the national team we kick signed footballs into the stands as a token of appreciation for the fans. They really love it."
Koster will work with the former treasurer of the KNVB board, Johan van Kouterik, who will act as women's football project manager for the next few years. Another indication of the professional approach to grassroots football in the Netherlands is Hans Schelling's recent appointment as futsal manager.
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