That time a Dutch football team signed a contract with an 18-month-old

It’s not often we bring you a story from 2011 in 2020, but this time we just had to. Long, long ago, a Dutch football team signed an 18-month-old baby. No, we’re not kidding.

Then just over one year old, Baerke van der Meij was signed by Dutch football team VVV Venlo after his YouTube rise to fame. His father, Jorg van der Meij, uploaded an extremely cute video of Baerke kicking three balls in a row into his toy chest.

The signing was, of course, symbolic, but it is said that the legendary Baerke celebrated with a sippy-cup of orange juice after the deed was done.

Football runs in the Van der Meij bloodlines, it would seem. Baerke’s grandfather, Jan van der Meij, also played for VVV Venlo between 1958-60 and 1964-65. In the club’s undoubtedly rigorous selection process, that was important.

“One can speak of a right-footed player with a very good kick technique, perseverance and, importantly, football genes of grandfather Jan van der Meij,” a spokesperson for the club said at the time.

As Baerke is still too young to play professionally, the mystery of whether he has inherited his grandfather’s talent remains unsolved.

Feature Video: tyughjbnmw/YouTube

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.


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