Davenport alum transitions from player to coach

When Veronica Overbeek, BSN ’19 first stepped foot on Davenport’s Lettinga Campus as a freshman in 2015, she quickly realized that the transition to college would be far more difficult than she had imagined. 

The first month of college was especially hard for Overbeek. She had been a three-sport athlete in high school and had come to love the sense of community that a team provides. Attending college as a non-athlete left her with a void that needed to be filled. 

When I first started at DU, I was struggling to find my group of people,” said Overbeek. “I watched all of the athletes with their teammates on the way to practice and on the way to competitions, and I really missed that comradery.”

Then, one day, a resident assistant invited Overbeek to a women’s rugby game; an invitation that would change her entire college experience. 

“As I watched the game, I remember thinking how awesome it was. I had never watched a rugby game before, but it was the coolest thing I had ever seen,” said Overbeek. 

After the game, she talked to some of the players about what it took to be a rugby player and walked off the field with an invitation to give it a try. That same day, she drove home to get her cleats; a few days after that, she joined the team for practice, and a few days after that, she played her first game. 

“Rugby was exactly what I needed,” said Overbeek. It gave me a group of people to spend time with and challenged me to learn a sport I had never heard of. Also, the physicality of it was awesome. I loved tackling people on defense or running people over on offense,” she said.  

She admits that while she played sports in high school, rugby was the first sport at which she excelled. 

Overbeek spent four years traveling the country playing rugby for Davenport. Her favorite memories include traveling to San Francisco for nationals and winning the fall championship. Her senior year she was even selected to be a collegiate All-American, something she’s very proud of. 

“Rugby made my time at Davenport absolutely fantastic and my college experience would not have been the same without it,” Overbeek said. 

When Overbeek graduated with her nursing degree in 2019, she knew she couldn’t leave the sport behind, so she continued her involvement with the team as a volunteer coach. This year, her coaching status was elevated to assistant coach.

“The rugby community at DU is just amazing,” Overbeek said. “The coaches have always been so supportive. As for the team, we will continue to get stronger and will remain a force to be reckoned with.”

Overbeek currently works for Holland Hospital with her two sisters and her mother. Her sisters also earned nursing degrees from Davenport. Click here to read their story. 


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