With over 200 career goals to her name, Dutch goal-getter Manon Melis has called it full-time.
Potent for club and country
After a few seasons in her native Holland, Melis moved to the Damallsvenskan at just 21 and soon became one of the stand-outs of the Swedish league. Racking up a breath-taking 84 goals in 104 apps for FC Rosengård (then LdB FC Malmö), Melis was a driving force in a team that toppled an imperious Umeå IK side and helped the Malmö side to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.
A season spent with Linköping proved another fruitful one as Melis found the back of the net 16 times in 21 appearances although unable to propel her side to silverware before moving back to Malmö in 2013, once again lifting the Crown Princess Victoria trophy come the end of the season. Two prolific seasons with Kopparbergs/Göteborg followed as the Dutch dynamo continued to score more often than not but once again Melis was left empty handed at the end of the club season.
Wanting a new challenge, Melis was lured stateside by Seattle Reign boss, Laura Harvey the move coinciding with the announcement that she was stepping down from international duty to focus on club football. Her debut season in NWSL wasn’t smooth sailing, despite finishing as the Reign’s top goalscorer in the 2016 season the Flying Dutchman was side-lined for a period with a broken leg. Nearly a year to the day after the move was made public, Melis announced her retirement from professional football.
A Dutch legend
A permanent fixture in the Oranje squad for twelve years, Melis helped the Netherlands to a credible third place finish in their first appearance at a major tournament (the 2009 Euros). After having failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics – a 1-1 draw against Sweden granting Blågult passage to Rio at Holland’s expense – Melis said that the time felt right to step down from national duty, the retirement a surprise to many fans and critics with Holland hosting the Euros the following year.
One of Holland’s more senior players and all-time top goalscorer with 59 goals in 135 apps, Melis’ absence has and won’t only be felt in front of goal, 20-year-old Vivianne Miedema her natural replacement and her 23 international goals over 34 apps evocative of Melis’ exploits on the pitch but her experience would have been key at such an important time for the Netherlands. With the Oranje having suffered heavy casualties in the last twelve months with a high number of players retiring (whether just from international football or completely) Arjan van der Laan has a job on his hands to get the side ready for the Euros.