Who are you, and what is your soccer background?
My name is Bas Ent, 28 years old and living in a small town called Wormerveer, 15 minutes away from Amsterdam. Soccer has been an important part of my life. Started when I was 5 years old at the local amateur club. At the age of 13 I was selected by a professional soccer club, FC Volendam, playing in first division in Holland. This club developed me as a player to become a typical Dutch winger. I played several years for this club (13-17 in the youth academy). I signed a 3 year pro contract at the age of 17, and my personal biggest highlight were my 7 caps for the Dutch National team youth teams. Due to some injuries and a lack of playtime, the club unfortunately didn’t extend the contract. The year after I signed a contract at a semi-pro club In Holland, before taking the step to the Dayton Dutch Lions. At the moment I’m playing at a semi-pro club in Holland (third division) in combination with my work at a bank.
How did you hear for the first time about the Dutch Lions FC?
At that time I played at v.v. Katwijk, a semi-pro club in Holland, but I still had the dream to (re-)start a career as a pro. I saw some information on the newspaper regarding DDL and them organizing a try-out in Apeldoorn, Holland. I immediately went to the website and signed up for the try-out, because this was my big chance to become a pro again.
For which Dutch Lions team did you play?
I signed for the 2010 season. This was the first season of the Dutch Lions FC, playing in the US PDL league. A lot of big names were signed, such as former National Team goalie Oscar Moens and Premier league veterans Hans van der Haar, Geert den Ouden, Ivar van Dinteren. Our coach was Sonny Silooy.
Where did you live, and how was it?
I arrived in the States in March 2010. I lived at an apartment compex in Bellbrook, OH, nearby Dayton. A neat complex, with everything we needed as players. We were living with another player. I lived with Johan Wigger, a Dutch native as well. It was a great adventure to live in the States. A lot of new experiences. I enjoyed every day of it.
What was your overall experience of living in the US?
Fantastic. Besides the fact that soccer is the States was great to experience, I was able to travel the country and see a lot of things I always wanted to. The city of Chicago is just one example. I can say that the time I spend in US enriched my life!
What was your overall experience of playing soccer in the US?
It was great experiencing a different kind of soccer. Soccer in Europe is more tactical and technical based. In the US the players were more physically developed. It turned out to be a great mix of Dutch players and US players who both learned from each other.
Did you have one big moment that you will always remember from the time in the US?
I experienced so much big moments in the US, that it’s hard to pick only one out. Playing for DDL opened a lot of doors for me. I was able to go on trial at Columbus Crew and Toronto FC. At Toronto I played for 20,000 people against Bolton Wanderers (English Premier League team). That was a fantastic experience!
What did the chance of playing soccer in the US gave you regarding your future?
It gave me a lot. It was a great way to learn the English language better. That’s something which helps me a lot, almost daily in my job. Besides that, the whole experience enriched me as a person. To live in a different country, US in particular, gave me a lot of confidence. To be honest, it makes me proud thinking back…
What was your main purpose when deciding to join the Tryout in the Netherlands?
I really wanted to play pro soccer again. That was the main purpose. This was the ultimate chance for me to go for it again.
Which experiences did you make at the Tryout?
There was a lot of excitement there. In 2010 around 200 players registered for the tryout in the AGOVV stadium in Apeldoorn. The atmosphere was good, but I was nervous, because I really wanted to be picked out. I played 2 sessions 11 v 11. Luckily for me I was picked out that day.
Why did you decide to play for the Dutch Lions FC?
A lot of reasons. In the questions above I already mentioned a few. The most important one: the experience to live and play soccer abroad was a dream come true.
Did you perceived the time in the US as making a step forward towards becoming a soccer professional?
Like I mentioned before, playing for DDL opened a lot of doors for me. I was able to trial at Columbus Crew and Toronto FC, both MLS. Toronto FC even offered me a contract.
What soccer related plans do you have for the future?
I’m 28 years old now, I don’t say my career is over, but work and family have become the most important things in my life now. I still play soccer at a good level, semi-Pro at DOVO in combination with my job at a Dutch bank. I’m very happy with this combination. I hope to continue this the forthcoming years.
What can you recommend the players who have the dream of playing soccer in the US, regarding the Tryouts and playing in the US?
Follow your dream! If this is what you want, don’t hesitate and go for it. I still feel fortuned to have experienced it!