Mauro van Wanrooij: From the pitch to the ocean

At the age of 18, I was attending my final year of pre-university education at my local school in the Netherlands. I was studying really, really hard (:p) and I was playing soccer at a pretty high level, something I loved to do. During my school time, I met some of my best friends. Since they played soccer as well, but at a rival club in the same town I am from, we came up with the idea to play together. That was the moment I made a transfer to the club my friends were playing at. After several test games with the A-team, I made it through the selection. But then in the early season the worst thing I could imagine happened - I tore off possibly all the ligaments in my right-knee and at the same time, I had to do my finals.

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This injury had such an impact on me that I didn’t manage to pass my finals. It was a rough time but I committed to come back after 9 months of recovery. I trained and got back on the pitch after the doctors said my knee was doing well again. But after several matches, it happened again. Another 9 months of recovery and I still didn’t manage to finish school. At this moment I had to convince myself to do things differently and push myself in another direction to playing soccer.  During this time I was thinking a lot about what makes me happy and what I wanted to do in life (because I had another 9 months on the couch).  I came to the conclusion that since I was a little boy, I’ve always been passionate about the marine world with all its crazy animals and beautiful underwater/coastal landscapes.

At this point I made the decision that this should be my future job - I want to help coastal regions all over the world with future problems they are going to face due to sea-level rise, overfishing etc.  Therefore, I chose to study coastal & marine management. Because of my studies, I realized even more how important it is to keep our world's oceans healthy and that I really want to play a role in conserving it.  After a really successful first year, I got the opportunity to join LAMAVE and actually be part of an organization that works in coastal regions with and for one of the biggest animals on this planet: the whale shark! These 4 months with LAMAVE and these awesome animals have been the best experience I’ve had in years. For the first time in years, I felt like that little boy who was so passionate about nature again. I want to thank LAMAVE for the opportunity they gave me to actually make it to the ocean and give them a compliment on the great work they’re doing. I’m really proud to have been part of the organization. Keep up the good work and we’ll see each other again!

Mauro is from the Netherlands. He is a student of Coastal and Marine management in Leeuwarden. He also has a degree in Marketing. Mauro was a volunteer of Cebu Whale Sharks and Turtles Project. He loves soccer, snowboarding and has the talent to imitate animal noises.


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