‘Happy Nomad’ Waldus finds ‘perfect’ home in Adelaide

In a career spanning seven countries, ‘The Happy Soccer Nomad’, Maruschka Waldus, can still comfortably call Adelaide, South Australia a second home.

In a career spanning seven countries, ‘The Happy Soccer Nomad’, Maruschka Waldus, can still comfortably call Adelaide, South Australia a second home.

The Dutch defender spent the last season with PSV that was sandwiched between her inaugural Reds campaign in 2020/21 in which she claimed the Dianne Alagich Medal, and this year’s return to Adelaide.

While United’s collective 2023 form to date has been a slight blip on the radar, Waldus still wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else.

It’s quite a compliment for the state, considering the multitude of places she has visited in her career.

“South Australia is like my second home, and coming back this season after a year off it was exactly as I left it,” Waldus admitted.

“It hasn’t changed and Adelaide United is like my second family, we really do have a great culture here and we’ve stayed tight with a good atmosphere again even with a season that has been a bit up and down.

“Adelaide is the perfect place to be and I like that the people are a little more relaxed and sometimes things in the Netherlands can be almost ‘too’ organised, and therefore people are always too busy to catch-up.”

It’s saying a lot, considering a vast playing career that has included 12 clubs, mostly born out of a love for travelling.

Waldus speaks English and Dutch, even though her United teammates joke about her fluency in the former, particularly when searching for the translation of a word that might not arrive instantly.

She can also converse in Norwegian but sometimes her German sneaks into the Scandinavian language, but it all adds to her moniker as ‘The Happy Soccer Nomad’.

In her year away from Adelaide, Waldus ventured into the Champions League with PSV and were knocked out by Arsenal in another memorable experience for the versatile defender.

She reflects on an expansive and enjoyable career to date:

“To (try) and summarise my career, well I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and I’m very grateful and happy that I’ve had all these opportunities to play in different parts of the world,” Waldus said.

“I’ve also lived in many different cultures as well and those experiences have created and developed me not just as a footballer, but a human being as well.

“I’m grateful of the fact that I have always been healthy and have been available to play most of the time, which is a privilege not given to everybody, so I do aim to enjoy every moment.”

The 30-year-old also enjoys a career outside of football with a company in Rotterdam called ‘Sobolt’, which uses Artificial Intelligence to create sustainable solutions.

She works remotely from Adelaide within their marketing team, playing an important role helping the ‘energy poverty’ crisis in the Netherlands as a result of the war with Russia.

It challenges and completes the footballer, while keeping her an intelligent player and one that self-admittedly focuses on the technical side of the game.

“I like to use my brain as well because it helps me switch off from football and of course I’ll need a career after the game,” Waldus said.

“It makes you think about other things in this life that are important as well, and it ties into my football in that I like to play smart, and I’m interested in the technical and strategic sides of the game.”

In terms of on-field involvement, Waldus was quite literally a ‘Flying Dutchwoman’ with a well-taken header against Canberra United last Saturday, courtesy of another sublime Nanako Sasaski assist.

While the tall defender, standing at 5′10, was pleased with the personal achievement, it’s team success that she is always chasing.

“It’s about time that I scored actually, because normally I’m good for a few more already,” Waldus laughed.

“It was nice to have a bit of fun with the goal, but I would have preferred us to come home with the three points but still I believe the belief is back in the team and we’re scoring more goals again.

“Not just for now but for the development of our players and the years to come for Adelaide United.

“Maybe the results are not there at the moment, but you can still build on the structure, culture and these things so maybe next year we can be ready for it.”

Wise words from Waldus, who has been unfortunate in her career to not have registered an appearance for the Dutch National Team.

Still she is looking forward to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ which has the potential to ‘explode’ women’s football in this country.

“I remember when the Dutch won the UEFA Women’s Championship in 2017 and it was hosted by the Netherlands as well,” she recalled.

“It was absolutely massive for women’s football there and the support for it grew incredibly.

“I think it will be very similar here when all the fans witness all the crazy things the Matildas will do, and I know myself and my Adelaide teammates are all really looking forward to it.”

Despite not seeing it that way, Waldus has readily opened the door for Dutch women to play in the Liberty A-League.

She was the first female from the Netherlands to play in the competition alongside compatriot and Dutch legend, Marlous Pieëte, at Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2017-18 season.

The A-League is more fruitful with Waldus’ affable and positive nature floating about, as her current team-mates and colleagues from all corners of the globe would agree with.