In 2020, before the pandemic changed the world, Fred van der Hoorn and Holland Elite co-owner Jeroen Gösgens met with a bold plan in mind. Their objective: to create a positive impact for the city of Den Bosch, starting with FC Den Bosch. They understood that the future lies in the youth. Soon they found mutual enthusiasm in other sports like hockey, basketball, and rugby. The concept of elite sport, youth, Den Bosch, and collaboration began to take shape.
After much patience, challenges, and setbacks (a global pandemic interfered after all), this past weekend it finally came to fruition: the very first edition of the Den Bosch International Tournament. The beginning of what we hope will be a long and successful tradition.
We are proud to announce that we hosted 36 teams in three different sports (with rugby joining in 2024). Impressively, 28 of these teams were from abroad. Thanks to excellent organization and planning, we were able to provide accommodation and transportation for the majority of these teams.
A special moment was the Saturday night dinner at Vliert Stadium, where teams from all sports gathered. This unique event, demonstrating the true spirit of athletic camaraderie, was made even more remarkable by the exciting football match between Manchester United and FC Den Bosch. During the match, the M-side created a spectacle with Bengali fire, an unforgettable display that further emphasized the enthusiasm and passion of the sport. A fantastic experience for the players and a delight for the spectators.
The most memorable match, however, was between Mahd Academy from Saudi Arabia and Maccabi Petah Tikva from Israel. Despite being a match in the losers’ round, the tension was palpable, considering teams from these countries typically do not play against each other.
This historic match could ultimately proceed after diplomatic consultation at government level, even up to the Saudi prince, who is also the owner of Mahd Academy. This underscores how sport can serve as a universal connector, even in the most challenging circumstances.
Apart from fraternity, the development of elite sport, especially among the youth in Den Bosch, is another important goal. By competing at a high level, against different cultures and playing styles, our players can grow. This year our teams from Den Bosch bravely competed, although they have yet to clinch a victory. FC Den Bosch U14 ended up 15th out of 16 teams, which means there is certainly work to be done. Heroes Den Bosch U18 lost the basketball final against the strong men of the European Basketball Academy from Spain. The U16 boys of HC Den Bosch came in 3rd place, and the U16 girls of HC Den Bosch lost in the last minute to KHC Leuven from Belgium.
The final standings were as follows:
Northern Ireland national team
European Basketball Academy
Heroes Den Bosch
HC Den Bosch
Royal Antwerp Hockey Club
HC Den Bosch
The first edition was not without its hurdles, but all the lessons we’ve learned are incredibly valuable. Many teams have already expressed their enthusiasm to return next year, praising the tournament, the organization, and the facilities. The Den Bosch International Tournament is here to stay. Next year we plan to go even bigger with more teams, better competitors, and hopefully even more sports. The preparations have already begun, and we are looking forward to the next edition. Because as we’ve seen: sport truly unites!