Linde van der Velden says she is ‘incredibly honoured’ at being named the first-ever captain of the newly-formed Exeter Chiefs Women’s side.
The highly-rated forward has been handed the role by head coach Susie Appleby ahead of the new 2020/21 Premier 15s campaign, which gets underway later this month.
Van der Velden, who joined the Chiefs back in August, has previously played for Castricumse in the Netherlands and, more recently, Toulouse in France.
“It was a bit of a surprise when Susie and Amy [Garnett] asked if I would like to be the captain,” said the 25-year-old. “But it was a nice surprise!
“In the past, I’ve captained the Netherlands and also my local club, so I have a good idea of what I have to do, but this is an incredible honour for me. To lead the Chiefs into their first season will be huge, but it’s a challenge I am really looking forward to.
“Thankfully, I will have others around me, people like Patricia Garcia, Kate Zackary and Olivia DeMerchant, all of whom have captained their countries. Having that experience to draw upon will be great in helping me develop as a captain also.”
Head coach Appleby is delighted that van der Velden will be her on-field leader, having been suitably impressed with her credentials since moving to England.
“I think Linde will be a fantastic captain,” she said. “We got to see her last season in the friendly game up at Newcastle and we liked what we saw of her. She said she was keen to explore a new opportunity here in England, so between us all, we got everything in place for her to come to the club.
“Since arriving, myself and Amy have been very impressed with what Linde has brought to the group, She’s really taken hold of things, she’s a real presence, and I think with the help of others she will have a huge impact on our group and on our game overall.
“You can see already she is a leader of people and for us she is the perfect fit, not just for this year, but also the future. Having someone like her provide that longevity is key and I’ve no doubt she will do a great job for the team.”
Fixtures for the new Premier 15s season will be released on Monday.
Thanks to Exeter Chiefs