Did the Netherlands’ National Soccer Team Fire These 2 Lesbians for Dating?


It’s hard enough getting Americans to care about soccer in this country, so what about if we tell you about the Dutch national women’s soccer team, and how they cut two lesbians — who are in a relationship together — from the team? Interested now?

Dyanne Bito (pictured, below) has been kicking balls around for nine years on the national team, and her girlfriend Claudia van den Heiligenberg (pictured, left) is a four-year veteran. They’ve been dating at least a year and a half. So did their intra-team romance have anything to do with Coach Vera Pauw (pictured, right) dismissing them?


The team’s coach, Vera Pauw, has stated that, although Heiligenberg’s performance had been slipping, she would still have had to cut her and Bito from the line-up if her performance had been stellar. Pauw was hesitant to give a clear reason for her actions and only spoke of ‘private affairs’. It is the first time Pauw has made the difficult decision to remove one or more players from her team.

Now, no one involved has stated that the dismissal of the two women is related to their relationship. While coaches tend to be hesitant towards relationships in teams, the two have been dating for a long time, so if this is a reaction to them being together, it comes at a rather late date.

On the other hand, if the dismissal is related to their relationship, it is a rather big step back for the Dutch sports world. Especially in (Dutch) women’s soccer, it’s not a secret that a lot of the players are either bisexual or gay.

Coach Pauw says it’s “absolute nonsense” (we’re translating) to assume the pair were let go because of their romantic relationship. But Heiligenberg says it’s impossible to think they were let go because they were bad players.



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  • TommyOC

    Let me qualify this with the fact that I’m a HUGE soccer fan, a supporter of U.S. domestic and national-level play. I also have spent half of my life coaching and refereeing high school and adult recreational games. Mix that in with my being an openly out young gay man, I have some qualifications and experience to comment here.

    I equate this matter to the equivalent of inter-office romance – in other words, you don’t have them or reap the consequences. Whether you’re let go on day 1 of the relationship or day 1,000, it doesn’t matter. The only thing I hope the Dutch team has is a policy in place for dealing with inter-office type romances, so they can roundly refute the calls of homophobia.

    As a coach, I wouldn’t want to put players on the field who I would suspect of making decisions that weren’t based on sound play. If I have to wonder whether you made a poor play toward Player A over a good play to Player B because you were dating Player A, something needs to be done about that. And short of not allowing you both on the field at the same time (which handicaps your ability to use a player to their fullest), I am forced to cut you.

    Top that off with this fact: The Dutch women are good. The top five women’s soccer teams in the world include the Americans, the Brazilians, the Chinese, the Germans… and the Dutch. They’re not hurting for talent.

    On a purely rational thought alone, the Dutch football federation has plenty of valid excuses to fall back on and protect them from accusations of wrongdoing.

  • TommyOC

    And I should note that women’s soccer is a lot more tolerant of bisexuals and lesbians than the men’s game. There are a number of women players who are out – or at least who aren’t actively closeted.

    Natasha Kai, a United States forward and prolific goalscorer, is an example of this. She’s out and is ten shades of badass. Just check out her tats for proof. She gives David Beckham a run for his money in that department.

    Point is, the women’s side of the game is a lot more tolerant than some of my gay brethren might think.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

    @ Tommy

    I agree…

    When you run or manage something-play thr game….

  • terrwill

    I am ascared there is a lot more to this than first glance. The Netherlands has alway been one of the most tolerant nations towards the Gays. However in recent years they like most European countries have had a tremendous influx of muslims into their countries. There is no secret that the muslims hate every fiber of our being and they happen to be huge soccer fans. Can this be the first show across the bow of the SS Gays to simmer down their outness so as not to “offend” the muslim community??
    Where is the coach from? what is her ethnicity? religon? A society such as the Dutch just don’t do a 180 degree turnaround from being one of the most accepting to something like this………….

  • Christine

    I doubt it has anything at all to do with the fact that they are lesbians. Maybe this would happen in USA, but not in EU.

  • TommyOC


    Read comments before posting. The USA has shown their tolerance for openly out lesbian players. Thanks for the hating.

Comments are closed.