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‘I don’t regret giving up my studies’
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Scheimann played in the Feyenoord and NAC youth teams, and when he was eighteen, he almost achieved his ultimate goal when he was invited for a trial with Maccabi Tel Aviv. But his dream was shattered: “I simply wasn’t good enough yet”, says Scheimann ten years later in a telephone interview. But he refused to give up.
Following his unsuccessful attempt, Scheimann ended up with the amateur team Kozakken Boys in Werkendam. Here, he managed to seize the opportunity with both hands by delivering a strong performance in a cup game between his team and the Ajax first team. Ajax invited the left back for a traineeship. That meant the EUR student had to dial back on his studies: he would turn his studies in Psychology into part-time.
His adventure with Ajax led to his breakthrough into professional football. “At the time Ajax 1 was out of my league, so they advised me to play at FC Den Bosch. There, I played for three years and then a season with Excelsior.”
In 2012, Scheimann and Excelsior were relegated; “a low point in my career”, as he calls it. However, the high point followed just three days later: Israel invited him for an international friendly. He accompanied the Israeli national team to a training camp in Germany, where he played his only international match up till now against the Czech Republic. “A dream come true from start to finish. I never expected this to happen, especially just after relegation.”
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For Scheimann, who lived in Israel until he was five, the training camp marked the moment that he felt like he really belonged in the land of his birth. “My Hebrew wasn’t very good then and of course the guys spoke Hebrew all the time. You pick it up really quickly that way”, he laughs. “I also learned the customs and the culinary culture. It was all very different to what I was used to.”
As a result of his selection, Israeli clubs were lining up to sign him and consequently, at the age of 24, he returned to Israel to play for Maccabi Haifa. While he had family living in Israel, his parents remained in the Netherlands. That was a big sacrifice. “My mother finds it difficult that I don’t live close by, although I do travel back and forth frequently, and my parents often come to visit me. My family is very important to me and that’s why I want to close out my football career in the Netherlands”, says Scheimann, now 30. It almost happened last summer when VVV showed real interest in signing him.
First big cup win
The fact that the deal never went through turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Playing with his current club Hapoel Haifa, Scheimann has the chance to win his first major trophy: the Israeli State Cup. On 9 May, his team will play in the final against Beitar Jerusalem. “I hope that this successful season will perhaps help me to advance my career. After that, I want to wind down my career in the Netherlands.”
Scheimann never gave up his studies. “I resumed my studies in Psychology because that subject is close to my heart. First I studied in Leiden and later at a good English-language university in Israel.” He has almost completed his studies and will graduate this summer. If his football career ends, he wants to get his coaching license and work as a sport psychologist. “It would be fantastic to work with children. I spent years in the youth academies of top football clubs, so I know exactly how that world works.”