The University of Alabama is once again proving its athletic prowess, this time in the form of another Olympic athlete. Merel van Dongen, a member of the women’s soccer team, will be traveling to Tokyo to play for her home country of the Netherlands. While van Dongen isn’t a current athlete at Alabama, she still represented the Capstone from 2012-2014.

According to the University of Alabama’s press release, van Dongen has played in 51 international matches since her first in 2015, at the age of 22. This is not the first time the former member of the Crimson Tide has worn the orange jersey representing the Dutch on a major scale. She also was a part of the national team in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.

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Going into the 2021 Olympics, the Netherlands are ranked third in the world by FIFA. Their group includes No. 14 China, No. 7 Brazil, and Zambia. The Dutch national team is prepared, though. In preparation for the Olympics, Dongen’s squad took down No. 2 Germany (2-1), No. 9 Australia (5-0) and No. 12 Norway (7-0).

Van Dongen represented Alabama for three seasons on the pitch. While she was on campus, the women’s soccer team finished with an overall record of 24-28-5. The midfielder scored 10 total goals and 13 total assists for 33 total points. This includes 10 assists in the 2014 season, which was a school record.

When her addition to the national team was announced, van Dongen took to Twitter to share her thoughts.


Van Dongen and the Dutch women’s soccer team will begin group play with a match against Zambia on Wednesday, July 21. The match will begin at 6 a.m. CT (8 p.m. Tokyo time) and will most likely be televised on the NBC network of channels.

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