New Zealand has more than its fair share of famous multigenerational football families. The Rufers list Armstrong, De Jong and Fallon, all with more than one international representative in the family. But perhaps no family unit can claim to be more comprehensive than the Van Hattums.
And it’s a story in which there are many more chapters to write. Seventeen-year-old Oskar van Hattum will show New Zealand’s colors at the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. Oskar, who played a major role in last year’s OFC qualifiers, is the fourth Van Hattum to represent New Zealand.
The best known is that Uncle Frank was a member of the groundbreaking New Zealand team, which defied all expectations to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup ™. If that is not enough, the aunts Grazia and Marie-Jose both played for New Zealand. Oskar’s father Terry and cousin Nick competed in the New Zealand club competition.
The history of football goes back to Oskar’s grandfather Frits van Hattum, who emigrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand in the early 1950s. The Dutchman was undoubtedly shocked at the prevalence of rugby posts in most fields and helped introduce football to local schools in Taranaki. His coaching skills have even helped to boost the careers of some of the most famous goalkeepers, including his own children.
Not surprisingly, football is a fixture for Oscar as long as he can remember. “I played with a ball because I could barely walk and that’s why I started at a young age,” he told FIFA.com.
“I can not remember a time when football was out of the question at home or when a ball was not in the house. [Frank, who plays in the World Cup] has shown that wide play is possible. A great inspiration. “
A popular anecdote in the family is that Zico scored one of the best goals of his career in the past by Frank with a legendary and effortless kick against Spain in 1982. et al. – remains a touchstone in New Zealand football history.
Now, the youngest footballer Van Hattum is ready for his own Brazilian experience, this time in one of the game’s spiritual houses, where New Zealand play against Angola, Canada and the hosts.
“Playing Brazil against Brazil is definitely one of my goals in life,” said the creative assailant. “As a child, it’s definitely a dream to play and score at a World Cup for your country.”
Van Hattum will be traveling to Brazil, not only inspired by the achievements of his family, but also by the recent performances of the New Zealand youth teams. New Zealand has a remarkable track record at FIFA tournaments, led by the kiwis’ impressive bronze medal at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.
“We know it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll step back to get out of the group,” said Van Hattum, one of a dozen Wellington Phoenix academy players chasing the selection. “We want to expand the performance of the U-17 girls. Our attitude is, ‘If they can do it, we can do it. ‘”
New Zealand’s achievements at FIFA youth tournaments
U-17 World Cup: Round of 16 (2009, 2011, 2015)
U-17 Women’s World Cup: Third (2018)
U-20 World Cup: Round of 16 (2015, 2017, 2019)
U-20 Women’s World Cup: Quarter-finals (2014)