Anyone who sees Barelds walking can hardly deny that he has the build of an American footballer. The height came to him, the muscles he developed in the gym. Yet he started – years ago – as a football player at GOMOS football club in Norg.
The giants of Groningen
Football started bothering him when he was a student in Groningen. For Barelds reason to seek a new sport. By a few detours, he stumbled upon American football. “That’s how I started with the Groningen Giants a few years ago.”
The student in Nutrition and Diet quickly caught the attention of the Giants. “I was looking for a challenge and immediately found it super fun,” he says. “And apparently I have a predisposition for that too.”
It was no secret that he has an aptitude for American football. His speed and strength quickly set Barelds apart on Dutch pitches. Düsseldorf spotted the Norger breed. “In Germany, they told me that if I did well, I would be offered an apartment and a car,” he says. “I actually didn’t believe it, but it turned out to be true in the end.”
Barelds was allowed to stay and thus received shelter and transport from the Panthers. “For example, I can study in Groningen from Monday to Wednesday, to train in Germany the rest of the week. I then go back and forth for three hours. My teammates sometimes think I’m crazy.”
In the spotlight
Crazy or not, Barelds has managed to put himself in the spotlight in the highest American football league in the world. Nearly fifty athletes from fourteen different countries take part in a sort of selection competition at the ‘International Combine’ in London. Over the course of a weekend, talents from all over Europe are tested on their speed, skills and other facets of the game.
“I’m the only Dutchman to have been invited,” Barelds knows. “The NFL is made up mostly of players from the United States, but they’re also looking for talent in Europe. If you do well in the Combine, you can train for ten weeks in Florida in February. Then you take it one step further. to the NFL. “
Barelds makes no secret of it: anyone who can play in the NFL is there. “There are more players in America who have followed the same path. They are there, yes.”
This is far from the case for Drent, who knows it all too well himself. But it will be soon. “This is my first season in Germany. I am still a beginner. In addition, this year I am playing in a different position than in Groningen. But it’s certainly going well, especially thanks to a lot of good training. “
Recently, Barelds was in Düsseldorf non-stop preparing for the weekend in London. His teammates are right behind him, he says. “They think it’s really great. We have a good group.”
In any case, American football lives more in Germany than in the Netherlands, he thinks. “We have four teams in Düsseldorf alone. It’s really a lot less in the Netherlands. I would love the sport to get a little more attention there. Maybe I can take care of it. “
“Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar.”