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15 Jul 2016
Gert and Stef
A Beach Soccer love story - life together on and off the sand
It is often said that beach soccer is like one big family and that is literally the case with Gert Oosterbroek and girlfriend Stef Saaltink, coach and captain of HTC Zwolle respectively.
It is a rare occurrence, not only in beach soccer but across sport, however, Gert and Stef were part of the Zwolle side that competed in the most recent Euro Winners Cup Catania, as the Dutch side finished ninth in the inaugural women's competition.
The coach and his skipper met around eight years ago as part of the HTC Zwolle football team, and have been together for around three of those years.
In this beach soccer boy-meets-girl tale, Gert was the one to make the first move, aided by Stef’s sister, who gave him Stef’s phone number and encouraged him to call her.
One day, after a training session, the team got together in Gert’s bar, and the rest, as they say, is history.
So how do they cope in the team environment with jokes flying around the dressing room?
“It is normal,” Gert told Beach Soccer Worldwide in Sicily. “We do not really care, as we take part in the jokes as well. They are always well-intentioned… we know that the girls are fully ok with the situation.
And is there any hint of favouritism?
Not a chance, Gert adds: “If she doesn’t train hard, if she is not good enough, then she will not be on the pitch for the match.”
While their relationship does not impact on-sand matters, Gert did acknowledge it can have an effect in the opposite direction, with disappointments and frustration sometimes creeping into home life.
“She sometimes will go to bed without talking to me,” Gert says, when asked whether his other half can harbour a grudge.
But, while the pair may have the occasional disagreement regarding Zwolle and beach soccer, they will always have at least one thing in common - their mutual appreciation of all things Feyenoord.