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Royston Drenthe: ‘’After my first shift in healthcare, I felt fulfilled again’’

There are hardly any players who have had more of a tumultuous career than Royston Drenthe. The fast and agile winger was dubbed a wonderkid and earned a transfer to Real Madrid at a very young age. During his five years at the Spanish side, he made 67 appearances. Drenthe then hopped from one club to another and never really fulfilled his full potential. Nowadays, his life looks very different. He’s been making music under the name Roya2Faces, acted in the popular Dutch TV show Mocro Maffia, and does punditry on Dutch television. However, Drenthe also works in healthcare and is trained in care support and security in the intensive care unit.

Royston Drenthe Healthcare

Royston Drenthe ended his professional football career in 2019 at Sparta Rotterdam but continued to play at a high level of amateur football in The Netherlands and Spain. In 2020, Drenthe was declared bankrupt. In the Dutch TV show ‘De Gevaarlijkste Wegen’, he revealed that all the money he had earned during his career was spent on holidays, beautiful cars and especially women. Four years after the bankruptcy, the 37-year-old is in a much better place in life. 

Taking things for granted

In an interview with Zorgwerk, he opened up about the lessons he has learnt along the way. ‘’During my career, I took many things for granted and thought everything would always stay the same. It wasn’t until later, around the age of 35, that I realized life is constantly changing. You get older, you desire a family, and you must be professional enough to handle these changes. I now see that some players managed this well, but it was difficult for me at the time. It’s painful to see, but not the end of the world, and I’ve learned from it. That’s the beauty of it. I can still make progress after my professional career.’’ 

‘’I always thought football would be my life and that I would always be as fit as I was then,’’ says the former footballer. ‘’It took 3 to 4 years to really let go and make new choices that would make me happy. If you don’t let go and talk about it, it keeps haunting you. I had to learn this, and now I can give it a place. Back then, I wanted to accept it but couldn’t. Now I can.’’

Transition to healthcare

After his professional football career ended, Drenthe was looking for a new challenge far removed from football where he could still use his skills, although working in healthcare wasn’t the first thing on top of his mind. ‘’After my football career, I found it difficult to take new steps. I felt that healthcare would suit me, but I needed that extra push to follow the training for care support and care security.’’

‘’Many friends and family members work in healthcare,’’ says Drenthe. ‘’I’m someone with a big heart. After all the training, it took six months before I was really on the job and could contribute. The realization that this truly fit me came when I first worked in the HIC (High & Intensive Care) and helped clients with problems. After my first shift, I felt fulfilled again. It had been a long time since I felt that way. That was the confirmation that I was in the right place.’’ 

His work varies from one-on-one support to assisting multiple clients simultaneously in a team. ‘’Healthcare has significantly contributed to my personal development. At 37, I’m not yet where I want to be, but I’ve learned a lot. The experiences on the job and the people around me have shown me the importance of staying calm in stressful situations.’’

Thinking ahead

‘’During my football career, I was only focused on living in the ‘’here and now’’, not on my future. So my most important advice is to always think ahead and not just focus on the present. It helps a lot to think about what you want to do after your sports career. It makes the transition much easier.’’