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23/02/2021 16:36
Dutch superstar Lonneke Slöetjes announces retirement
News from the National Federations

Utrecht, Netherlands, February 23, 2021. Dutch Volleyball superstar Lonneke Slöetjes has announced her retirement from competitive sport at the age of 30. The opposite hitter, whose resume includes 302 caps for the Dutch national team, had taken a first break, sitting out the 2020-2021 club season, but has confirmed that she will not return to the court to focus on family and the next chapter of her life.

“Over the past year, I have been looking for reasons to return to competitive sport. I could not find any such reasons,” she explains. “I notice that I get a lot of positive energy from other things that come my way and that I can learn, for example in the field of my studies. I also want to be close to my family now. I am very grateful for everything I have been able to experience. The successes with Oranje and VakifBank will always remain with me. Of course, the many friendships that I have gained from Volleyball will remain as well.”

The 192 cm tall opposite hitter started her career in the Netherlands before venturing abroad, first moving to Germany and afterwards to Italy. However, a shoulder injury prevented her from displaying her full potential – something she would eventually be able to do in the 2014-2015 season with SSC Palmberg SCHWERIN in Germany. Slöetjes achieved international fame and success with Turkey’s giants VakifBank ISTANBUL, triumphing twice in the elite CEV Champions League and just as many times at the FIVB Club World Championship under the guidance of Giovanni Guidetti. Lonneke felt very much at home in Istanbul and with VakifBank, she won the Turkish national league and national cup three and two times, adding a number of individual awards to her resume while wearing the shirt of the Turkish standout team. After leaving Istanbul, she spent one season in Italy with Savino Del Bene SCANDICCI.

Slöetjes (far right) celebrating her first triumph in the CEV Champions League at the Final Four held in Treviso (Italy) in 2017

After making her debut with the Dutch national team at the Montreux Volley Masters in 2008 against Cuba, Slöetjes amassed as many as 302 caps from 2011 through 2020. The highlights included a EuroVolley silver medal in 2015, when the Netherlands lost to Russia before 11,000 fans at Ahoy in Rotterdam, and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Slöetjes helped the Netherlands secure their first Olympic appearance since 1996 and their best result in history when they finished fourth at the Games in Rio after losing to China and USA in the semis and bronze medal match. Slöetjes was instrumental to a second straight EuroVolley silver medal in 2017 and to securing fourth place at the World Championship held in Japan a year later – the top result for the ‘Orange team’ in the history of the global showpiece competition. However, the international career of Slöetjes ended with a series of setbacks in 2019 and early 2020: the Netherlands failed twice to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and they lost badly to hosts Turkey in the quarterfinals of EuroVolley 2019.

“Lonneke really was a world-class player,” reacts Dutch national team captain Maret Grothues. “We experienced many highlights together with her! She won the Champions League and the Club World Championship, among other things, and often received the MVP or Best Opposite Hitter awards of major tournaments. Despite all these successes, she is one of the most humble people I know. Both on and off the court, she is a very pleasant person who is always there for people. It was an honour to be standing on the court next to her, and we are going to miss her. She can look back on a very good, successful career!”

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