This week we have a Friday Focus blog from the lucky umpires who have been selected for UDP Group 13. As with all things in this group, it’s a joint effort, including cooking dinner for the EHF President and her husband Gertjan!

“For the first time, UDP group 13 had the exciting opportunity to meet each other at a specially organised kick-off weekend in Zandvoort, the Netherlands. During the kick-off weekend, all the members of UDP group 13 got the opportunity to get to know each other better and to talk about future expectations regarding the UDP program. UDP group 13 exists of Carly Edward (Scotland), Rebecca Woodcock (England), Lena Osswald (Germany), Luka Zupancic (Austria), Antoine Duhem (France) and Daniël Veerman (Netherlands). The group is tutored by Roel van Eert & Mirjam Wessel (both Netherlands).

Unfortunately, not all members could make it to Zandvoort, but we are all looking forward to meeting them soon at our next event. After arriving in Zandvoort on Friday evening we got the opportunity to get to know each other better by filling out a questionnaire about another member in the group. It was a fun way for us to really get to know each other and talk about our personal life stories.

Also, tough questions were asked, such as “What is your dream umpiring scenario?” or “What unique trait of another umpire would you like to possess?”. On Saturday morning we had to get up early for the first activity of the day. Rob ten Cate came over to talk with us about the UDP program. An hour later we were honoured to get a fitness masterclass by Cees Koppelaar. Cees (79), who worked at Ajax Amsterdam and currently still at Bloemendaal, gave as many practical tips on how to relax during running. In only 1.5 hours everybody improved their moving skills.

After that, we visited the beaches of Zandvoort and got an exercise from Roel and Mirjam to draw our life story on a poster. But the real surprise had yet to come. We had to prepare a three-course dinner for ourselves and two mystery guests. After we did our groceries, we started preparing our dinner. Starter: risotto with bacon, Main course: chicken in red wine sauce with mashed potatoes and broccoli, Dessert: Lemon Cheesecake. Our guests were EHF-president Marijke Fleuren and her husband Gertjan. During dinner, we got the opportunity to share thoughts and speak about hockey with both of them. They were really nice to us and, we hope, enjoyed the dinner which was an excellent team effort, with limited resources!

On Sunday morning we did an escape room together. We were supposed to find Jack Spyker’s stolen race car and escape the room in time. But we were unlucky in our mission being short on time. We didn’t succeed in escaping, but we had a lot of fun during this activity where we really bonded together.

In the afternoon we all umpired one match at Rood Wit in Aerdenhout of either the men’s team or the women’s team. Afterwards, we all enjoyed eating the world-famous Dutch “bitterballen”.

We had a wonderful time in Zandvoort and we are all really looking forward to what the rest of the UDP program will bring us all. A special thanks to Roel and Mirjam for organising this weekend and to all the special guests who took to the time to visit us make this a very exciting start to our journey.”

UDP Group 13 : Carly, Rebecca, Lena, Luka, Antoine and Daniël

We wish them all the best of luck in their umpiring career! If you are interested in the UDP programme click here.