The 2022 Age Group Sportsman of the Year Award nominee, Marvin Simons, became the latest young University of Johannesburg (UJ) Hockey Club player added to South Africa’s Under-21 squad that competed in the recent Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia. The South African hockey team played six games against Great Britain, India, Australia, Japan and Malaysia.
Simons is no stranger to the national hockey team. He represented SA hockey at the 2021 Under-21 Junior World Cup and the SA men’s indoor hockey side that played against Switzerland and Namibia.
“I had a great experience playing for the SA U21 men’s side. Playing alongside the best U21 players in the country allows you to learn a variety of skills and strategies from different people. This adds character to the kind of player I am and makes me realise my own potential to grow.
“Playing for the national team is a dream come true – my family is proud of me. Wearing the green and gold jersey, singing our national anthem alongside my brothers is one of the best feelings,” explains Simons.
The Management Services student joined UJ Hockey earlier this year. He says that the university hockey experience has molded him as a better player and person on and off the field.
Simons, who comes from Komani in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, started playing hockey at a tender age of 4-years, learning from his father in their home yard. He later on joined the Beaulieu Hockey Academy, completing his matric at Beaulieu College.
“My first UJ game had a different feel. I have played in the Premier League for the last five years with Beaulieu, but the difference here was that I was in a different strip, different culture on how they did things. From there, the purpose became much sweeter and the rest is history,” says Simons, speaking about his first UJ match.
He aspires to play for the South Africa senior hockey team and participate in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games. He is also hoping to play for a European team.