Teamwork makes the dream work

Kerstin Casparij on her first Manchester derby & settling into life at Man Metropolis

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Kerstin Casparij is adjusting shortly to life in Manchester.

The summer season signing from FC Twente has began seven of Manchester Metropolis’s first eight WSL matches, has her first Manchester derby on the horizon, and is working arduous to good the Manchester accent.

There’s one phrase particularly that she’s nailed.

“To be trustworthy I have been getting a bit rusty, so I actually do have to select up the tempo and get into it. I am attempting to up my sport within the Manchester accent,” Casparij informed 90min. “Hopefully I will come [up] with another humorous issues different than simply buzzin’.”

Transferring away from her native Netherlands to a brand new nation on the age of simply 22 to affix Metropolis might be a frightening expertise for a lot of. However Casparij has been pressured to mature shortly, after being thrust into the Heerenveen senior staff on the age of simply 15.

“It was very bizarre for me as a result of I used to be 15 and principally a toddler,” she laughed. “I used to be with ladies who had been actually 14 years older than I used to be, in order that makes you develop up actually quick and various things get anticipated from you.

“And I feel that has been nice for me as a participant but additionally as an individual, and it actually, actually made me develop in each side of life. So I’d suggest making your debut at a younger age!”

Having left house earlier than her seventeenth birthday when she made the swap from Heerenveen to VV Alkmaar, beginning a brand new life in England was one thing she was in a position to soak up her stride.

“The primary time I moved out of my mother and father home I used to be 16 simply turning 17 and I did not have a automobile or perhaps a licence at the moment as a result of I wasn’t allowed to drive,” the correct again added. “So dwelling three hours away with public transportation, having to dwell off barely any cash, it actually makes you develop up and find out about life.

“You simply actually need to change into an grownup at fairly a younger age, and that basically formed me into the individual I’m immediately. So having accomplished all that, transferring right here was really straightforward for me as a result of I am an grownup now and I grew up.”

Metropolis’s type of play and the way in which Gareth Taylor noticed her becoming into the staff had been large elements within the attack-minded fullback opting to make the swap to Manchester this summer season.

One other attraction of the WSL for Casparij was the followers, who she has loved interacting with each within the stands: “I at all times try to find time for them, as a result of they journey thus far even to our away video games; I am not used to that so I actually recognize it” – and on the streets of Manchester – “the opposite day a beautiful woman got here [up to me] together with her youngster which was aw, simply wonderful. I had a bit cuddle.”

The 22-year-old is about to come across swathes of helps on Sunday, as Metropolis tackle rivals United on the Etihad. It is the membership’s third ever ladies’s match at Metropolis’s major stadium, and first for the reason that opening day of the 2019/20 marketing campaign, when United had been once more the guests.

40,000 tickets have been bought for the event, and it’s on target to set a brand new WSL attendance report for Metropolis, surpassing the determine of 31,213 who poured into the Etihad for the 2019/20 derby.

Having beforehand performed all of her soccer within the Netherlands, the place lots of the rivalries within the males’s sport don’t but exist within the Vrouwen Eredivisie, it’s the first time Caparij could have sampled a derby of such magnitude and on such a giant stage.

“I’ve by no means skilled something just like the Manchester derby so coming right here I did not actually know what to anticipate,” she added. “The [only] actual derby I’ve had is the one from Twente and Ajax, as a result of they’re those preventing for the title. Nevertheless it’s not essentially a derby like in Manchester the place you battle for who’s the very best within the metropolis.

“Particularly with the attendance and all of the media round it and persons are really wanting to return and watch that sport, I do not assume there’s really something like that within the Netherlands.”

Regardless of the Manchester derby being in simply its fourth 12 months of existence within the WSL, it has already served up a collection of iconic moments (with Caroline Weir liable for a big chunk of them). From Weir’s choice of surprise targets to a Tobin Heath-inspired United comeback in November 2020, it is a fixture that lives as much as its billing – and Casparij’s teammates have gotten her on top of things with what to anticipate.

“They principally say it is simply very intense, it is in regards to the metropolis, who’s principally the very best and will get to brag about that for a bit,” she stated. “I’m so excited, I hope we see masses and a great deal of followers. I haven’t got any expectations apart from eager to win, so we’ll see the way it goes.”

And the way is Casparij feeling about stepping out on the Etihad for her Manchester derby debut?

“I will be buzzin’, as they might say.”

Manchester Metropolis welcome Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 11 December, for a 12:30 (UK) kick off. You may safe your tickets on-line by visiting: or by calling: +44 (0)161 444 1894. Tickets are from £8 for adults and £4 for concessions.

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