Born in Holland to Liverpudlian parents, Jamie De Geir certainly has an interesting background. The 21 year old full back, and die-hard Everton supporter, has a story that is typical of most first generation immigrants and it has given him a great perspective of life, and football, in both nations. Jamie currently plays for S.V. de Meteoor in the ‘4de Klasse’, Dutch Football’s ninth-tier. Here is Jamie’s story in his own words.
Tell me a bit about yourself as a footballer? What position do you play? What sort of player are you?
When I was younger I was basically a bit of a prodigy, I was being looked at by Ajax and Volendam as a striker. I then made the mistake of wanting to drop into midfield to be more involved. I struggled with the size as you know Holland is the biggest country in the world. Then I was put on the wing and since I have played in the Seniors I have been a full back. I like to dribble a bit. I never hoof a ball or clear it.
How long have you been playing football? And what clubs have you played for?
I have been playing football since I was 5. I was born in Holland and grew up here to Scouse parents. I’ve only played for the one club in Amsterdam noord, called Meteoor.
How did your parents end up in Holland? What was it like growing up there and having foreign parents? How has that affected your life?
My father moved over when he was 16 due to work and my mother came over for a weekend and met my father whilst she was here. I guess it was quite weird, the Dutch have a lot of different values to the British. As hard as it may be to believe considering I was born in Holland, the language was hard to get to grips with. I am actually a lot more confident speaking English than Dutch. Dutch is a difficult language , it has a lot of things you need to know but are hard to learn.
Has it had an impact on your football?
As a footballer, growing up here has been great. As has been proven throughout history the Dutch are quite good at training and developing footballers. I’m definitely a lot more Dutch in terms of how I play. For example, I don’t smash into tackles like how your average English defender might do.
How about your life outside of football? What other interests do you have?
Apart from playing football, I like writing, watching movies and watching football, especially Everton.
In your opinion, what are the most noticeable differences between the lower league football in Holland and the UK? In terms of style, quality, the fans, the atmosphere and coaching methods?
The English lower-leagues and the Dutch ones are very different in style. The English like to tackle and win physical battles whereas the Dutch, even in the lower leagues, like to try to play well, with the ball on the floor. The teams are very tactically aware, they’re very well organised. Even the fans at that level in Holland are very tactically astute and critical, it’s the Dutch way, the Cruyff generation. There’s a lot of complaining from the stands whether it be at Ajax or Sunday League! In terms of training, the main difference is probably the facilities. In Holland, most amateur sides will have their own complex with at least two pitches, some even have up to eight, we get everything provided to us, even training kits.
Would there be any culture shocks or difficulties for an English player if he played in the Dutch lower-leagues?
I think the culture shock for an English player here would definitely be the professionalism. For example, In England even if you play high amateur you can go out the night before no questions asked. Not the case in Holland. You would be lambasted.
And do you have any stand out memories of the region both as a footballer and in general?
When I was younger I scored a 90th minute winner to win the league. As a senior it would probably be the relegation play-off from last season. The team that lost was going to go down and we were 3-0 down with 30 minutes of the match left. Somehow, we managed the comeback and ended up winning 4-3.
Is there anything you prefer about England?
What I prefer about England is the pop culture and the size of football there compared to Holland. Of course, it is important in Holland but not like it is in England. I love how important football is there. You see and here about it everywhere, from Billboards to radio stations.