If you’re considering the possibility of joining a football team in Brussels, it might be worth having a look at the Hêbê League.
When you move to another country, sports can definitely be a good way to get integrated. But finding the right club or association for you might be a bit of an issue sometimes.
Hêbê is one of the solutions in Brussels. As Jean-Paul Judson, Hêbê’s secretary-general, explained to us last year, the association was created by a former group of interns from the European Commission, and it resulted in a wide project which offers several activities.
The Hêbê League is one of those successful stories. This independent football league was set up in 2008, and involved a couple of teams. The League grew more and more. Today, about 700 players (around 600 men and 100 women) from more than 50 countries are part of 48 teams in 4 divisions. “At the beginning, the idea was about setting up a league to avoid playing football in a park over the weekend,” David Garlot, the founder of the League, explains to us.
The point is quite easy: gathering all those who fancy playing football in championships. Every team should be co-ed, and both genders must be playing anytime in each game. The games, which take place on indoor pitches, involve 6 players in each team, and the goals the women score count as double points.
“The best female-players today oppose this rule, because they find it discriminating,” David added.
He also pointed out the level, which has impressively increased over the past ten years. In the first division, very good players are involved, such as a female-player who plays for the Belgian national team.
There are two seasons a year, which are followed by the Hêbê Cup during two weekends. The competitions work like traditional football competitions. The best teams of the fourth, third and second division get promoted to the higher division, while the less successful teams in the first, second and third division get relegated. During the Hêbê Cup, all the teams take part in a knockout competition.
Although some teams are quite associated with specific nationalities, there’s absolutely no rule with regard to each team’s composition. Among the 48 teams, you can find “Eurotrash FC”, “La Vie est belge”, “Los Patos hermanos”, “the Spartak Zizou” or the “Goalfathers”.
Football is football, but this is not the end of the story. “The social dimension of the league is quite impressive. It resulted in friendships, even in families,” David said.
While the winter season will be over this weekend, Brussels Express will provide you with updates during the next Hêbê Cup. Would the off-season give you an opportunity to join a team?