Jerry van Ewijk was one of the first signings for the newly rebranded Orange County SC this offseason. The Dutch winger came to Southern California with little fanfare, but after a preseason where he scored frequently, it looked like he might get off to a hot start in his new environment.
It hasn’t exactly been a slow start, but after scoring one penalty goal coming into Saturday’s game against LA Galaxy II, van Ewijk broke out in a major way, dominating an inexperienced backline at Orange County Great Park and scoring two goals and an assist in a 4-0 rout.
Is this a sign the 25-year-old is only just getting started?
“Jerry’s a player we’ve tracked, we really, really like,” Orange County SC head coach Logan Pause told Angels on Parade after the game. “Anytime a player comes in from another league, another country, it just naturally takes them time to acclimate to the States, to the culture, all of this sort of stuff. Not everyone gets to see all the hard work he puts in. I’m glad that he gets rewarded for all the work he puts in.”
The 25-year-old joined Orange County having previously spent his career in his native country, playing in the Dutch first and second divisions for De Graafschap and Go Ahead Eagles.
His stint at De Graafschap provided a hint at his promise, as he scored 24 goals in 72 appearances there before moving on.
After his Man of the Match performance, van Ewijk opted to give the team’s hard work the credit for the big win.
“It feels awesome,” he said. “We had a week of break and last time we tied, so we wanted to get revenge and the guys were all excited and confident to high press. We’re at home here and we gave it all we got and we were all over them. That’s why we created chances. The penalty and the second goal of mine were all because we were pressing so high and it created a lot of chances. So it’s well done from the whole team.”
Orange County’s season has been a bit stop-start, with two bye weeks early and the team being the last in USL to host a home game this season. Van Ewijk said the team was more than ready to get back to business.
“After the [last] game we were so eager to play again, and the week before we had already had a break. So it’s good to get a rhythm going and I hope we can continue like this.”
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