Jordie van der Laan is out of a job for skipping practice to watch the Champions League.
A Dutch soccer player finds himself out of a job after playing hooky from his club to go watch the first leg of the Ajax-Tottenham Champions League semifinal in London last week.
Jordie van der Laan, a 25-year-old striker with Telstar in the Dutch second division, was offered a ticket to the game by a friend and decided to tell the club he was sick so he could jet off to England.
“I just called in sick and of course it wasn’t the best decision. In the end someone found out,” van der Laan told the BBC.
The ruse was quickly discovered, though. Technical director Piet Buter told the IJmuiden Courant that van der Laan called in sick on Sunday (the game was on the following Tuesday) and turned down a request to see the club doctor, saying he had already seen another doctor. The next day, a club employee who lived nearby offered to come see him and van der Laan fessed up that he was in London. But his friends and teammates still had no idea and were shocked to see his face featured several times on the game broadcast.
Van der Laan told the Courant that he and Buter reached an amicable decision to terminate his contract when he returned to the Netherlands that Thursday. The deal was set to expire this summer anyway and van der Laan had only appeared in seven games this season, with zero goals scored.
When the news came out, van der Laan tweeted jokingly that he was looking for a ticket to Ajax’s return leg in Amsterdam, saying, “I’m free after all,” and a Dutch journalist offered to take him. As if losing his job wasn’t bad enough, van der Laan had to endure Ajax’s crushing defeat at the hands of Tottenham.
Van der Laan’s case isn’t even the first time a Telstar player went AWOL to have some fun elsewhere. In 1985, John Weijers was denied permission by the club to take part in an ice skating race on the country’s canals. The race is only held when ice conditions are suitable and hadn’t been run in 22 years, so Weijers strapped on his skates knowing he’d be fired.