SC Heerenveen is one of eighteen Dutch premier league football (which is English for soccer) teams. The club has been subject to quite a respectable growth over the past few years, from the bottom of the eerste divisie (First Division) to the UEFA Champions League in 2000/2001.
The club's management is stable and it also reaped the benefit of selling some very talented players, who were acquired earlier for a bargain, for example Dane Jon Dahl Tomasson and Ruud van Nistelrooy. The consistent offensive and attractive playing-style and the exemplary behaviour of the club's fans gave them a good name in the Netherlands - SC Heerenveen received the national 'Team of the Year' award twice over the last few years.
The team kit is one of the most traditional ones in the Netherlands. The shirt has small blue and white vertical lines with a number of red water lilies on it. Those 'pompeblêden' are famous flowers for the province Friesland, from where the club originates.
The last decade, SC Heerenveen has been doing particularly well. It all started when the current trainer Foppe de Haan was appointed back in 1985. SC Heerenveen was a minor, almost unnoticed club in the second highest league, but De Haan had a plan to change all that. The club first promoted in 1991, but that was far too early for the club's organization to handle and they were relegated immediately at the end of that very season. Two years later, the club made it to the Cup Final and promoted again, only this time to stay. Most of those years, De Haan was the field coach. He spent only some years as a technical manager.
The board had been very succesfull these years to make Heerenveen grow, but not too fast. Yet, Heerenveen were soon publicly included into the group of runners up in Dutch soccer, behind the traditional top teams Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. From 1995 on, the club finished ninth, seventh, seventh again and sixth in the national league, indeed after promoting no earlier than 1993. Especially against the top squads the blue-and-whites usually performed well. In the Cup competition the final was reached twice in five years, often beating the top teams in earlier rounds. But by not performing really well against the smaller teams, SC Heerenveen never really could get it to the third or fourth place in the league.
Not until 2000 that is, when they finally ended second, behind champions PSV. A place in the prestigious UEFA Champions League was reached, but in six games against Valencia, Olympiakos Piraeus and Olympique Lyonnais the club managed to get only four points.
The most famous story from SC Heerenveen's history 'though is from more than half a century ago. The tiny Heerenveen from the countryside played 'big city' Ajax in 1950. The superior Amsterdam footballers scored and scored and after an hour play the score was 1-5. Still, partly thanks to two goals by all-time Heerenveen hero Abe Lenstra, the Frisians managed to win 6-5.