The Houston Dutch Lions FC is an American soccer club based in The Woodlands/Conroe area, and is made up of its Youth Academy, USL PDL team, HFA and USL Super 20 teams. The Youth Academy of the club began its development training in 2011 with only one location in Conroe, Texas. In 2012, the Youth Academy expanded to its second training location to service players in The Woodlands also. After the opening of the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility in October, 2013 all practices have been centered at one location.
The Dutch Lions FC is supported by the Dutch Eredivisie side FC Twente and has clubs in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; and in the Northern Houston area. It was originally founded by Mike Mossel of Business and Sports Performance and Erik Tammer of Tammer Sports Management. Erik Tammer is a former professional soccer player of the Netherlands who played for clubs such as SC Heerenveen and Sparta Rotterdam. Mike Mossel played in Europe for RBC Roosendaal and Turnhout. He also played in the United States for the Cincinnati Riverhawks of the USL following his graduation from Xavier University.
Existing since September 2011, the Youth Academy of the Houston Dutch Lions FC is the lifeline of the club. Growing step by step since the start, the club ensures a quality Youth Academy through the Dutch and UEFA certified coaches. Together with the personal attention the players receive at practices and games, the club insures a higher standard.
In the summer of 2014, the Houston Dutch Lions FC and Conroe Youth Soccer League signed a collaboration document insuring high level league games within organizations such as the EDDOA and STYSA. In the spring of 2015, the Houston Dutch Lions FC saw their U11 and U12 teams crowned as Champions in their respective divisions!
USL PDL 2012 season
In the summer of 2012 the club’s PDL and Super 20 teams had their inaugural season in the MidSouth Division of the USL Premier Development League. The USL PDL makes up the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. All home games for the USL PDL squad side were played at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenandoah, Texas.
For the 2012 PDL season the club appointed Robert Maaskant to manage the team. Maaskant was former professional soccer player and coach in Europe. In 2011 Maaskant’s club, Wisla Krakow, won the Polish Championship and in doing so qualified for the famous UEFA Champions League. After this successful run at Wisla Krakow, he signed on with the Houston Dutch Lions FC as Head Coach and advisor. In its premier season, Maaskant led the Houston Dutch Lions FC to a fourth place finish (5-9-2). Following the conclusion of the season he was offered, and agreed to, a one year contract with Eredivisie side FC Groningen.
The 2012 USL PDL squad had several players with experience playing in some of the highest levels of European soccer. Forward Joonas Kolkka and left back Sjaak Polak were two of these players and they made an immediate impact on their new team.
A former Finnish International player, Kolkka (98 caps/11 goals) started his career with Reipas Lahti and MyPa in Finland's Veikkausliiga. He won the Finnish Cup with MyPa in 1995 before joining Netherlands' Willem II that same year. In 1998 Kolkka joined Dutch club PSV Eindhoven where he won two league championships and was able to play in the UEFA Champions League. Kolkka then moved to Greek side Panathinaikos in 2001 where he spent two seasons. After leaving Greece, Kolkka played a season each for Borussia Mönchengladbach of the German Bundesliga and Crystal Palace of the English Premiership. While with Crystal Palace he scored goal at both Anfield and Old Trafford during his stay at the club. He was later released by Palace, and returned to the Netherlands in 2005 when he signed a one-year deal with ADO Den Haag. After an impressive season with ADO, he was signed by Dutch side Feyenoord and spent one season with the club. From 2007-2011 Kollka played for NAC Breda and scored 8 goals in 113 appearances. In 2011 he was signed by his former club, Willem II and was employed as a player and sales manager for the club. In May of 2012 Kollka agreed to a contract to play for the Houston Dutch Lions FC during their 2012 season. While in Texas he had one goal in fifteen games.
Sjaak Polak, who has appeared in over 400 games in Dutch soccer, was an outspoken wingback and freekick specialist. Polak previously played for several Eredivisie clubs including Excelsior, Sparta Rotterdam, FC Twente, and ADO Den Haag. Following his time in the Netherlands, Sjaak had several trials including time in Austria with Austria Vienna and with Swiss club St. Gallen. He ended up in Israel, signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
USL PDL 2013 season
For the 2013 season the club appointed former professional soccer player and coach Hans van Arum. As a player van Arum played 333 games and scored 90 goals for Dutch Eredivisie teams Vitesse Arnhem, RKC Waalwijk, Go Ahead Eagles and Willem II. As a Head Coach, van Arum won Coach of the Year at 3rd level team Sparta Nijkerk. He is also a former coach of Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem and 2nd level side of AGOVV Apeldoorn. For the second season, all home games were played at Woodforest Bank Stadium in Shenadoah, Texas. The team finished 5th in the Mid South division and showed an amazing amount of growth both on and off the field in its second year.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishments for the club took place in the second half of 2013. In September the club proudly unveiled the first phase of its new soccer facility. Located in Conroe, Texas, the facility opened with two of the finest fields in the Houston areas. Both FIFA regulation size fields are fully lit and feature the highest quality soccer specific turf produced by Dutch company Edel Grass. In the coming months the team club house and offices will be constructed as well.
Also in 2013 the club joined the inaugural season of the Texas Premier Soccer League. The Lions finished the first half of the season undefeated and also were the champions of the first Admiral Texas Cup, defeating Houston Hurricanes FC in penalty kicks in one of the most exciting games fans had seen. The young talented players advanced to the Championship game, falling to the Regals SCA in overtime.
USL PDL 2014 season
For the 2014 USL PDL season the club appointed Technical Director Marco Pruis to Head Coach. After assisting Hans van Arum in the 2013 season, Pruis would take on the assignment to bring back the joy in the game. Together with Assistant Coach Jan Hereijgers, the team had its most successful preseason ever. All 8 preseason games were won and the team looked sharp and ready for the USL PDL 2014 season.
An exciting moment in history for the Houston Dutch Lions FC was Thursday, May 22nd, 2014. At 7:30pm the Houston Dutch Lions FC played its first USL PDL game at the Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Facility.
The young Lions didn't have the results they wanted, or a US Open Cup spot, the team consisting from local talent as well as top talents from local universities such as: Houston Baptist University, University of St Thomas and San Jacinto Junior College. A season were the young talents learned a lot from playing on this top level.
USL PDL 2015 season
With the return of 2014 PDL players Cameron Free, David Perez, Jorge Contreras, Kelvin 'Manny' Ilona, and the addition of University of Texas at Brownsville standouts Archie Massen, Victor Parreiras, Juan Garcia and Carlos Acevedo the Houston Dutch Lions FC had a successful 2015 season on and off the field. Topscorer with 8 goals, and locale Tomball resident, George Kelley became a fan favourite after his already famous bicycle kick in the home game vs Mississippi Brilla FC. The club showed progress on the field by more than doubling their point total, but also more than doubling their attendance each home game. With the opening op the Club House (The Lion's Den) each home game was a true great fan experience!