Field hockey midfielder Danielle van Rootselaar ’22 played a role in all three goals in the Bears’ win against Dartmouth over the weekend, assisting in the first two tallies and scoring the final goal herself. Before coming to the University, van Rootselaar made it to the national championships of her native Netherlands in 2013 and 2017. She has played in every field hockey game since her first contest as a first-year and tied for ninth most assists in the Ivy League last season. For her contributions to her team and success against the Big Green, van Rootselaar has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: What is the biggest difference between playing field hockey at Brown and playing back home in the Netherlands?
Van Rootselaar: There’s a lot of focus on conditioning and strength (at Brown). It’s way more professional here because it’s combined with the University. (In the Netherlands), you play club, (so) the teams and the universities are not linked. Here, it is easier to balance practices and classes because the coaches and the professors communicate. When we have an away game, our professors understand. At home, you either play field hockey or go to college. It’s a perfect combination here. There’s also a difference mentality-wise. Everyone in the United States is super positive, which is awesome. That’s been the biggest mental change.
What is the team’s biggest strength this season?
We have a lot of talent and individual skills on our team. The entire team puts everything on the table in every game and at every practice. Everyone is going at 100 percent.
What are your favorite things to do besides field hockey?
That’s tough, because field hockey is my biggest passion. I really like school. I’m very competitive on the field obviously, but also in school. So, I really try to get the best grades I can. I have no clue what I want to do in the future, so I just try to go with the flow here at Brown. I really like the Open Curriculum, because I can go anywhere, (and) in any direction I want to pursue.
What class have you taken that is most outside of your comfort zone?
I’m taking French right now, which I could have never otherwise done. Back home, you pick one major (and only take those classes). I definitely don’t want to major in French, but it’s so fun to be able to learn another language and compare it to Dutch and English.
Does anyone else in your family play field hockey?
Field hockey is the biggest sport in the Netherlands, so my four siblings and my parents all play field hockey.
What’s the best part of being a spectator at a Brown field hockey game?
The game moves super fast. I feel like not everyone knows a lot about field hockey in the United States, so they should know it is a cool game to watch. There is a lot of tension. There aren’t a lot goals, so when a goal is scored there is a lot of enthusiasm. There are so many opportunities for people to come to a field hockey game. We have about 25 games this season.
Do you like traveling to away games?
Yes, and it’s awesome for team bonding. You get to know your teammates so much better when you’re with them 24 hours straight for a couple of days. … It’s so fun to travel on a plane with the team, (since) I had never done that before. … The longer the trips are, the closer you get to each other.
What’s one thing you want everyone to know about you as a field hockey player?
Because field hockey is so big in the Netherlands, I grew up with it. I started when I was four — everyone does. That’s why it’s such a big part of my life. Also, my family, friends and everyone I know plays. When I’m bored or on vacation, I go to the field and go play, because it’s the most fun thing to do for me. I look forward to practice every single day. Game days are the high of the week.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.