Teammate reflects on Van Nouhuys returning to the Netherlands

Van Nouhuys won ACAA Rookie of the Year this season for the STU Tommies (Submitted: SRM Photography)

Disclaimer: This article was written by Alec Wells, a student-athlete on the STU men’s soccer team. This is part of an ongoing partnership with JOUR 2033: Local Reporting, Global Media.

When Mees Van Nouhuys made the tough decision to move from the Netherlands to Canada to play university soccer, he never dreamed he’d be the first international student in St. Thomas University history to be named the ACAA Men’s Soccer Rookie of the Year. 

“It sounds very cliché, but I couldn’t have done it without the team,” said the 18-year-old Tommies’ rookie, originally from Heemstede, not far from Amsterdam.

The standout centre midfielder is only the second St. Thomas student to win the award in the 57-year history of the league. He was named an ACAA first-team all-star. 

Unfortunately for the Tommies, their rookie of the year won’t be returning next season when they’ll be hosting the CCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship at Grant Harvey Field.  

“The decision to not come back was purely based on the financial reasons and what I think is best for me in the future, which is education,” Van Nouhuys said.  

Van Nouhuys has been accepted into Notre Dame in the Netherlands, one of the top institutions for economics in Europe.  

He plans on taking part in the International Business and Business Economics program at Notre Dame, a program which only accepts top students with the highest grade-point averages coming out of high school and transferring from other universities.  

His decision to come to Canada started three years ago after a setback, when playing for an elite club team didn’t work out. 

 “I was like, ‘okay, I’m going to train by myself every week, a few times and I want to go abroad. I want to study there. And I want to play university soccer,’” Van Nouhuys added. 

“I started filming in U17. That’s when I bought a camera and [my father] filmed all my games,” Van Nouhuys said.  

“I’d go home and I’d watch the game and write down some fragments of my play.” 

He would also create video clips and pass them along to an agency that would send highlight tapes and clips to coaches in the United States and Canada, his desired destinations.   

“I looked at what is best for my education because also, apart from being a soccer player, I also want to develop my education because I think that’s the most important,” he said.  

“I chose St. Thomas because I thought the school was the best educationally and it was a good team,” he said.  

Van Nouhuys would make an instant impact on the league and his teammates. He started 11 out of the 12 games for the Tommies and only missed one game due to yellow card suspension. 

The Tommies finished first in the ACAA men’s soccer division with a 10-0-2 record and Van Nouhuys was at the heart of the squad. He’s known for his intelligent play and accurate long ball pass. He is a player who is good in possession and can change the flow of a game with a cross-field switch pass. 

“Throughout the season, the more games I played, the more confident I got, the better I played,” Van Nouhuys said.  

Although he’ll return to his home country, he’ll remember and treasure the friendships he’s made at St. Thomas.  

“I’ve always felt at home here,” Van Nouhuys said. “It’s probably one of, if not, the nicest teams I’ve been on, not only soccer-wise but also just people in general.” 

“I’m very grateful for the time I’ve had here and the people I’ve met.”