Rob van Dijk
|Full name||Robert van Dijk|
|Date of birth||15 January 1969|
|Place of birth||Voorhout, Netherlands|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Van Dijk was born in Voorhout, South Holland. In his youth, he never thought he would make it to become a professional footballer. He only enjoyed playing football with his friends on amateur level, while his dream was to become a physical education teacher.
Van Dijk started his career at local team Foreholte, as a meritorious sweeper, who 'roamed' around the back line. Goalkeeper in his team was two-year younger Edwin van der Sar: "I was the last man to kick all the balls away, while Edwin did the rest. It was a nice time. I still talk to him occasionally."
At the age of 19, van Dijk started playing futsal with some friends in a recreational team. As someone had to be the goalkeeper, he made the sacrifice, which went well above expectation. When van der Sar left Foreholte for vv Noordwijk, van Dijk switched his position on the field and became the goalkeeper of the club's reserves, being promoted to the first team after one season.
Quickly various professional sides were interested in the talented goalkeeper, and van Dijk had a short trial at Ajax Amsterdam, who were in need of a third goalkeeper. However, Ajax decided to pick his former teammate van der Sar, while van Dijk went on to have a short spell at vv Noordwijk as van der Sar's successor, but soon grabbed the chance to become reserve goalkeeper at Feyenoord.
Only three years after the playing position switch, van Dijk made his goalkeeping debut in Feyenoord's first team. On 5 December 1992, he replaced Dean Gorré in the 59th minute of the first division match against Vitesse Arnhem (2–2), after starting keeper Ed de Goey was sent off after a foul in the penalty area. Phillip Cocu scored the penalty kick and became the first player to score against van Dijk on professional level. Van Dijk had his highlight two years after his debut: on 30 November 1994, he replaced the injured de Goey in the cup contest against Willem II (1–1 aet), performing well enough to earn Man of the match accolades, after a penalty shootout.
After four seasons playing only four league matches for Feyenoord, van Dijk decided to request a transfer: "De Goey wasn't going to leave. That was pretty much it. I've been a substitute behind Ed for four years. At the moment I had the chance, it didn't look like De Goey would leave any time soon. At RKC Waalwijk I could become the first goalkeeper."
Van Dijk stayed at RKC Waalwijk for seven consecutive seasons, playing a total of 214 Eredivisie matches for the club. Just before the final fixture of 2002–03, it was announced the goalkeeper would strengthen PSV Eindhoven's squad during the next season.
At PSV, van Dijk signed a two-year deal with the reigning champions of the Netherlands, backing up experienced Ronald Waterreus for the entire campaign, with only one appearance to his credit: on 16 May 2004, he was placed in goal when PSV traveled to AZ and recorded a 2–4 win. For 2004–05, he would become fourth-choice, behind Heurelho Gomes, Edwin Zoetebier and Nathan Coe.
Van Dijk signed for two years at De Graafschap, but missed the majority of his first year, due to a knee injury; the full recovery took months, as the doctors discovered severe cartilage wear. De Graafschap finished on the 17th place and relegated to the second level.
Subsequently, van Dijk returned to RKC in the summer of 2005, becoming first choice and not missing one single match during his first season. However, he had a less successful season 2006–07 as, due to bad results, RKC Waalwijk coach Adrie Koster was fired on 27 November 2006. The new coach, Mark Wotte, started experimenting with reserve goalkeeper Jurgen Wevers, who eventually became first-choice.
On 30 January 2007, SC Heerenveen announced the arrival of van Dijk as their new reserve, behind Brian Vandenbussche. He stayed at the club for two years, amassing a total of 15 first division games.
On 24 October 2010, 41-year-old van Dijk was in goal as Feyenoord lost 0–10 at former team PSV, the club's heaviest defeat ever. He retired from football at the end of the season, having appeared 18 times in the league; on 9 August 2011, however, it was announced that the player had signed a one-year contract with FC Utrecht, as Michel Vorm signed for Swansea City and Roberto Fernández was out for three months with an injury.
- "Generatiekloof in de eredivisie" [Generation gap in the Eredivisie] (in Dutch). AD. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- "Van Dijk: Laatbloeier onder de lat" [Slow starter under the crossbar] (in Dutch). AD. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- "Feyenoord – Vitesse (05-12-1992)" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 5 December 1992. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- "Van Dijk is anxious to start PSV adventure". PSV Eindhoven. 27 June 2003. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "AZ – PSV (16-05-2004" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 16 May 2004. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "De Graafschap snap up Rob van Dijk". PSV Eindhoven. 9 July 2004. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "Rob van Dijk weer op de weg terug" [Rob van Dijk on his way back] (in Dutch). Superboeren. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "RKC Waalwijk breekt met trainersduo" [RKC Waalwijk breaks with coaching duo] (in Dutch). RKC Waalwijk. 27 November 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "Rob van Dijk bereikt overeenkomst met sc Heerenveen" [Rob van Dijk signs agreement with sc Heerenveen] (in Dutch). RKC Waalwijk. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "sc Heerenveen neemt doelman Rob van Dijk over" [sc Heerenveen signs Rob van Dijk] (in Dutch). SC Heerenveen. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "Van Dijk vertrekt naar Feyenoord" [Van Dijk leaves to Feyenoord] (in Dutch). SC Heerenveen. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
- "Hosts run riot in record thrashing". ESPN Soccernet. 24 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
- "Nestor Van Dijk gaat invallen bij FC Utrecht" [Doyen Van Dijk moves to FC Utrecht as a substitute] (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
- "Rob van Dijk" (in Dutch). Voetbal International. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- "R. Van Dijk". Soccerway. Retrieved 10 July 2014.