Dutch field hockey star Felice Albers was named the best female player in the world by FIH, the international hockey federation. Thierry Brinkman, also from the Netherlands, was the runner-up on the men’s side. It was a big week for Dutch hockey, with Janneke Schopman also voted women’s coach of the year.
At 22 years of age, Felice Albers is the youngest winner of the Player of the Year award since 1999, when Germany’s Natascha Keller won the title. Albers currently plays for Amsterdam and the Dutch national team.
She and her Dutch teammates brought home the world championship this year. Last year, she also won the Olympic gold medal and the European title with Oranje. She made her national team debut in the summer of 2019, and has scored 16 times in 32 international matches.
“I’m very excited to be the winner of the FIH Hockey Player of the Year Award. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and who has supported me during the past year. As a little girl I had a dream of playing hockey for the Dutch national team. The fact that I have now been voted the best player in the world makes me feel incredibly proud,” Albers wrote on Instagram.
“This dream would never have come true without the help of my amazing teammates and staff and of course the support of all of you. Thank you for everything and keep believing in your dreams, no matter how young you are!”
Albers received 29.1 points based on votes from experts, fans, media and teams. With that, she beat out Argentinian player María José Granatto (26.9). Another Argentine, Agustina Gorzelany, came third. Dutch national player Frédérique Matla came in fourth with 16 points. Spanish athlete Georgina Oliva rounded out the top five.
Among the male athletes, the honorary title went to the Indian player Harmanpreet Singh. He received 29.4 points, beating out the Dutch runner-up, Thierry Brinkman, who finished with 23.6. They were followed by Tom Boon from Belgium, Niklas Wellen from Germany, and Belgian player Arthur de Sloover.
On Thursday, the former Dutch national player Janneke Schopman was voted the best coach of a women’s team, taking 38.2 points, easily trumping colleagues Jamilon Mülders, Katrina Powell, Raoul Ehren, and Adrian Lock. Schopman is in charge of India’s women’s national team.