Water polo player Laura Aarts returns to the Dutch team 2.5 years after her decision to stop top sport.

The keeper has the motivation to go for it again.

Aarts decided to stop in the summer of 2019, shortly before the World Cup.

At the time, she had a different idea about her life as a top athlete than the then national coach Arno Havenga.

She also missed the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the meantime, Aarts was still goalkeeper for the Hungarian top club Dunaújváros.

In the summer of last year she returned to the Netherlands to start winding down at a lower level, but there she came to other insights - partly due to a conversation with the new national coach Evangelos Doudesis.

"Gradually I got peace of mind again and also a clearer picture of what I still want in my life. I had a pleasant conversation with Doudesis. I saw opportunities again and top sport started to itch again. The main reason for returning times is simply that playing water polo at the highest level is still what my heart desires," said 25-year-old Aarts.

"Actually stopping completely has made that realization clear. In addition to the opportunity to play at foreign clubs, I also support the idea of ​​Evangelos that top sport should be able to go together with a (part-time) study. I'm really looking forward to it ."

Laura Aarts stylish in action in 2018.

Laura Aarts stylish in action in 2018.

Photo: Pro Shots

'Laura is still potentially one of the best'

Doudesis, who moved on as assistant in September and thus succeeded Havenga as national coach of Orange, calls Aarts "potentially still one of the best goalkeepers in the world".

"I think she can play an important role in the team's process towards the World Cup in Fukuoka in May and the European Championship in Split in September," said the Greek.

"And of course with Paris as the end station of this new Olympic cycle."

Aarts was part of the Dutch team that took silver at the 2015 World Cup and at the European Championship a year later.

In 2018 she became European champion with Orange.