Anouk Anna Hoogedijk was born in Woerden on May 6, 1985. Before she was a teenager, Hoogendijk experienced a golden period in Ajax’s history. “I was a big fan in the nineties, all of my allowance was spent on Ajax pens, stickers, and more” says Hoogendijk, remembering Ajax’s success in the nineties. “My room was full of Ajax posters and I slept under an Ajax blanket. I was a right winger then and Marc Overmars was my favourite. He was a winger, too. I sometimes went to watch Ajax practice. That how I got an autograph from Patrick Kluivert right before the 1995 Champions League final. He signed my face and that seemed so cool to me at the time; everyone could see it. But after a while it faded, and my mother traced over it again.”
The Woerden native, who grew up in Mijdrecht, has a lot in common with Daphne Koster. Both players were outstanding football players in their youth, but the opportunity for a professional football career seemed to be reserved for the boys. “This is my childhood dream”, continues Hoogendijk, one day after Koster also referred to this as her childhood dream. As children, both players fantasized about a future with Ajax. Next season their dreams will come true, as they participate in the BeNe-League as Ajax players. The best women’s teams in the Netherlands and Belgium will fight for the championship.
“When the news came that Ajax was going to start participating in women’s football, I didn’t blindly think ‘that’s where I’m going’. There needs to be a good team, with a good staff. The women’s selection can’t be the ugly stepchild within the club. Sports wise, it needs to be a good choice.” In conversations that Hoogendijk and Ajax had, the enthusiasm grew. “Daphne and I have now made our decisions. Perhaps more good players will follow.”
The midfielder/defender has been part of the Dutch national team since 2004. Hoogendijk made her debut on May 6, 2004, during an interland at home against Japan. The Mijdrecht native has played 78 interlands to date, and, just like Koster, reached a peak in 2009 when the Dutch team reached the European Championships semi-finals. Hoogendijk and Koster were among the team’s pillars during this successful tournament.
Hoogendijk has previously played at CSW, SV Argon, Legmeervogels and Saestum. The player arrived at FC Utrecht in 2007 via Saestrum, in the then brand new women’s Eredivisie. After a short move to England, where Hoogendijk ended up in the FA Women’s Super League on behalf of Bristol Academy WFC in 2011, she returned to FC Utrecht in 2012. “It’s difficult to leave FC Utrecht now. I’ve had a great time there, and have become very close with a few people. The Utrecht fans have always supported and appreciated me. I’ll always remember my time there fondly.”
A new challenge awaits in Amsterdam. With the Ajax women’s team, Hoogendijk is hoping for a successful season in the BeNe-League. There is no shortage of ambition: “We’re going for the championship”, decides Hoogendijk, who will play two EC qualification matches in June with the Dutch team. They’ll play in and against England on June 17, after which they’ll close the season with an interland in Serbia. “We need to be serious in the BeNe-League. Ajax needs to be a serious competitor for the title.”