Willem Hesselink

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Willem Hesselink

Willem Frederik Hesselink (8 February 1878 – 1 December 1973) was a Dutch football (soccer) player. Born in Arnhem, he was one of the founders of local club Vitesse Arnhem in 1892 at age 14. He played for HVV during their glory years, becoming national champions several times. Hesselink moved to Munich to study in 1903, and joined Bayern Munich. In three years he would grow out to be their star player, manager and chairman. In 1905 he started in the first ever home match of the Netherlands national football team, a 4-0 victory against Belgium. Some historians attribute one of the goals scored to him.

Hesselink also excelled in athletics, holding several national records including the long jump. A team made up of him and his brothers became national champions in tug of war.

He was known for his blue woolen cap, which he seemed to wear day and night, and was nicknamed the Cannon, although he was also referred to as the Doctor because of his doctorate in chemistry.

Over the years he built up a colourful curriculum vitae including doctorates in chemistry and philosophy, becoming director of the Keuringsdienst van Waren, being expert witness in several murder trials, founding a laboratory, and writing several health books.

His thesis on the secrets of Port wine made on the banks of the Douro has proved to stand the tests of time and is still quoted regularly.