Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Content Creator for RKC Waalwijk in the Eredivisie, Niels Verzijlberg!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?

Hi! I’m Niels Verzijlberg, 21, and a couple of months ago I graduated from Fontys University, having completed my BA in Sport Communication. Currently, I work as a Content Creator for RKC Waalwijk. A football club playing in the highest division in The Netherlands. The role is quite varied but mainly focussed on the Media, Marketing and Communication.

Over the past years, I gained some experience by writing for a couple of websites, such as VICE Sports. Besides that, I was the Editor-in-Chief for the biggest football supporters website, In de Hekken, in The Netherlands.

Niels Verzijlberg at RKC Waalwijk


What do you do in your current role?

My role is incredibly varied and diverse, this is due to the size of the club. But that is also the beauty of working at a small club like RKC Waalwijk. You are doing a lot of different things and learning a lot of new skills.

I spend most of the time producing content for the club’s social media platforms. That is ranging from producing video content, photographing, to graphic design and written content. Together with the Media Team, we run the website and social media channels during the week. On match days we try to engage with our supporters by offering unique and behind the scenes content. Furthermore, I conduct all the in-house club interviews for social media and YouTube. Together with the Media Team, we also come up with campaigns for season tickets, new shirts, etc. So, a lot of different things are involved in my current role.

What does a normal week look like for you?

Not a single week is the same, but that is part of the sports industry. Naturally, the most consistent part of the job revolves around match days. Together with the Media Team, we cover all content of what goes out on our digital channels. So, a lot of planning and creating content, right through from the concept of ideas to execution.

During the week we build-up to the match by player interviews, photography, social coverage, and a match preview for the website. On match days we cover as much as possible to give our supporters some exclusive behind the scenes content, but also to show how good the match day experience is at the stadium, for supporters who are missing the game.

On match days I am doing a lot around social media with the focus mainly on Instagram (Stories) and Twitter. When we are playing away most of the time we are at the stadium two hours before kick-off, so we can build-up to matches. Getting shots of the stadium, dressing room, player’s arrival, warming-up, etc. During the match, I have a place behind the goals, where I try to combine photographing and filming parts of the games for the socials, such as the goals. After the match, we do our player/manager interviews and get them on YouTube as quick as we can.

Niels Verzijlberg at training


How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

I had always been obsessed with football and sport in general, but I didn’t think of the possibility of pursuing a career in this industry until I started my studies at University. Since then working in the football industry was high on my list. This end destination has been the driving force of getting some relevant experience and hard work on developing myself.

In my third year, I got the opportunity to do my internship at RKC Waalwijk, where I gained a lot of experience. I loved every minute of it! Then I went to Oulu (Finland) for an exchange semester, where I studied Journalistic Lab. When I came back, the club asked me to join the Media Team to create content for social media and YouTube on match days. To graduate, I did my second internship also at RKC and wrote a thesis for the club. After I obtained my BA this summer, I kept working for the club.

Niels Verzijlberg interviewing a player


What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

Honestly, just the fact that football is back. As you may know, the football season in The Netherlands was cancelled in March due to the pandemic. Since then, we tried to stay connected as much as possible with our supporters with different types of content, and to continue our output. Even though we published less content than normal, the social media engagement was higher. It’s also the fact that we entered new ways of doing things, be more creative and coming up with fresh ideas to maintain the close link we have with our supporters, that gets my excitement.

Niels Verzijlberg on matchday


What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?

Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams and what you are trying to achieve. A lot of people want to work in this industry, so you have to distinguish yourself. In the early days of your career or even when you are at university, it is important to learn as many skills as possible. Become a jack-of-all-trades in your work field. Being able to write press releases, interviews, but also to make and edit videos, social media content and being able to work with Adobe programs like Photoshop.

And gain as much experience as possible. Work experience is the key to this industry. In the beginning, you have to be prepared to work voluntarily and working long days. Be patient, build your network but mostly, be passionate about your work and the industry you work in. Eventually, all the hard work will pay off!

How to follow Niels Verzijlberg on social media…

You can find me on:

Twitter: @NVerzijlberg

LinkedIn: Niels Verzijlberg

My portfolio: Portfolio