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Barça Feminí talent Esmee Brugts: ”In the end, I want to do more than just chase after a ball”

We will need to further investigate how she scores on the retro-meter as a 20-year-old. However, there is no doubt she knows a thing or two about scoring goals on the pitch. We spoke to the talented Dutch winger Esmee Brugts about her rural roots as ‘one of the guys’, self-development among the Barça greats, and making impact.

Esmee Brugts Barca Femini

On a trip down memory lane, we find ourselves with Esmee in the small village of Heienoord. The grass pitches around the corner, street football with friends, and a healthy dose of competition with dad Arie and brother Valentijn would later prove to be her solid foundation for success. “They didn’t hold back when we played outdoors,” grins the footballer. And she hasn’t stopped since then.

The path to pro football

Brugts started playing football at SV Heienoord, which is just a stone’s throw from her parental home. It became the home ground for her first official training sessions and matches, where she played in boys’ teams surrounded by familiar faces. “It wasn’t strange at all to play football among boys, I was used to it,” she says. However, the same couldn’t always be said about the away crowd. “I would sometimes get a cynical look when I was the only girl stepping onto the field,” Esmee recalls. “But after a few touches of the ball they usually stopped talking.”

Esmee Brugts Barca Femini

The ball started rolling slowly but surely. Yet, she didn’t realize her true potential until a letter from the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) arrived on the doormat, opening the doors to the professional football world for her. “I thought: there’s much more to achieve here,” says the player. “And now we’re here,” she concludes with a modest smile.

‘Esmee braids’

With her attacking drive, tireless stamina, and boundless hunger for more, the Barça asset is already a major inspiration for young female footballers. ‘I sometimes receive photos of girls with ‘Esmee braids’ sent to me,’ she says with a smile. It wouldn’t surprise us if her distinctive hairdo becomes a retro trend itself in a few decades.

However, her mission extends beyond just hairstyles. ‘I want to look back on a career where I haven’t just fulfilled my own dreams, but also made an impact on the lives of others,’ she concludes. ‘That I’ve done more than just chase after a ball.’”

Interested in reading the full article where we discuss her move from PSV to FC Barcelona, her life in the Catalonian city and her hot takes on fashion? Order ISSUE 80 now on our website!