Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
20 April 2024

& Culture

SFL board member Miguel Soria and founder Aaron Serpilin

VU students start football association

At the ‘Student Football League’ association, students can play casual football, compete in serious tournaments and have fun watching games together. You’ll have to bring your own booze, though.

When Computer Science student Aaron Serpilin (20) arrived in the Netherlands in 2022, he and his peers quickly found out that it’s not that easy to play football: “In Amsterdam and the Netherlands there’s a huge privatization of football”, says Serpilin. “Either you play in a club or an academy. For internationals that’s a big problem, because most of the players there speak Dutch”. That same year they started an initiative, which transformed into an association last December.

Serpilin now runs the SFL with three other VU students and one UvA student to “provide that underrepresented population of students with a space to play.”  But it’s not just for internationals, as there is also a completely Dutch team within the association. Around forty-five of the now more than six hundred players are women. By launching a women’s league, the board hopes to increase that number.

Free entry

The association is open to all students and can be joined through a WhatsApp channel. Entry is free and members can join weekly matches. In order to join the more serious tournaments, there are fees involved.

No football on campus

For now, the matches are in Amsterdam East, which may not be ideal for many VU students. “I don’t know how many times I’ve passed by the campus and thought: how come there are so many players but no football pitches? Football is literally the main sport of the country, but there’s only volleyball and basketball, no football”, says Miguel Soria (19), International Business Administration student and operations manager of the Student Football League. 


Besides playing football, the association also plans to host social events, like watching big matches together. But drinks won’t be on them. “Everybody has been surprised when we bring this up about the community that we want to build, but we have a law of no provision of alcohol. In the long term it’s not really sustainable to play weekly and also provide alcohol or substances that will hinder performance”, explains Serpilin.  

As an association, they’re not allowed to turn a profit. Having started off out the board members’ own pocket, they are now trying to secure more supportive parties. They’ve already gotten some financial support from VU Amsterdam.  


While the students are still in the early stages of growing their association, they have big plans. Initially they want to grow it at VU Amsterdam, the whole of Amsterdam and then the entire country, competing in various Dutch and international tournaments along the way. But in the long run, they hope to have proper college leagues, as seen in various other countries. Soria: “We want to Americanize it. To make a big deal out of football. So we can say: What are we doing this Friday? We’re watching Rotterdam play against VU.


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