Arsenal Women’s Beth Mead & Vivianne Miedema – relationship, injuries & the World Cup

Arsenal Women’s Beth Mead & Vivianne Miedema – relationship, injuries & the World Cup by Michelle

Arsenal Women’s Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema had just started their relationship at last summer’s European Championship. Mead went on to become the star of the tournament as England’s Lionesses won Euro 2022, under former Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman. Football mad England embraced the Lionesses and English women’s football has been growing exponentially since then. Miedema who won Euro 2017 with the Netherlands Women under Wiegman, had a very different tournament from her new partner, spending 10 days locked in her bedroom with corona virus, and the Netherlands were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

In an exclusive interview with dutch publication Beth & Miedema talked about that time.

Miedema: “That European Championship was disappointment after disappointment for us. I felt very good towards the European Championship. It should have been my tournament. But I was in my hotel room with corona for ten days. Everything flew into Beth’s. I saw it on the TV in my room. We spent hours and hours on FaceTime. Of course I did nothing. She had to tell what she experienced. We pulled each other through.

Mead: “I will never experience a tournament like this again. All stadiums that were packed. How we have stirred up the country.”

Miedema: “Winning something makes you popular for a while. We experienced it with the Orange in 2017 when we won the European Championship in our own country. But after that you really have to keep going. With new expectations. I hope they keep it up. They have to do well at the World Cup to keep the flow. It’s never going to be like the first hype again. But you have to build on that hype.

Unbelievably only 2 months into the 2022-23 footballing season, Beth suffered a devastating ACL rupture. And even more unbelievable, Miedema suffered the same devastating injury only 3 weeks later. An ACL rupture is a significant injury with a predicted 9 hard months of rehabilitation if all progresses well. This was surely a very testing time for such a new relationship?

Mead: “Yeah… And look, she’s alive.”

Miedema: “We sat there together on the couch. What the f*ck did we do and how is this all supposed to work out? Cry and laugh. Then it shoots in all directions.

Mead: “We only have good and bad days. We have good days and bad days together. Nine months of rehabilitation is a long time. We are together at home. We are together in the gym. It’s not always easy, but being together also gives a lot of support. Sometimes you also have to distance yourself from each other. That also makes sense in a relationship.

Miedema, teasingly: “Beth is also quite… present.” Then seriously: “At home we just do our own things. I was able to make more time for War Child and Common Goal, for which I am an ambassador. I can hardly sit still. Beth is pretty good at doing nothing. Hang out. Netflix.”

Mead: “Yeah, my favorite thing.

Miedema: “Beth was the first to get injured. Then I did everything for her for three weeks. I just kept training and then her mother’s situation came along. I had hardly had any time off after the European Championship. It all got a bit too much for me. It is therefore no coincidence that I got injured afterwards. It is of course not the reason, but the fatigue does play a role. If you’re not free in your head, you’re not free in your body.

Mead: “It’s not often that you go through so much in the beginning of your relationship.

In early January, Mead and Miedema had to say goodbye to Beth’s mother June, who died from ovarian cancer. Mead and Miedema lived in Mead’s childhood home in Whitby in the weeks preceding June’s passing. Beth asked fans to ‘Walk in her Name‘ to raise funds for ovarian cancer and Gooners responded in numbers.

Mead: “I was able to achieve the highest with England and for me personally. My mother was able to experience every moment of it. That provides a kind of relief. That she didn’t have to miss it. That cup was beautiful, but the moment with my mum, dad and brother on the pitch at Wembley after the final is worth so much more. I think everything happens for a reason. The fact that I got injured and was able to live with her before my mother passed away is an example of this. Take a break from football.

Due to their ongoing recovery from injury, both Mead & Miedema will miss the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, which kicks off in Australia & New Zealand on 20th July. When asked what they plan to do during the World Cup:

Miedema: “Sleep and don’t look, haha.

Mead: “Get fit. So that after the summer there will be two new ‘acquisitions’ for Arsenal.

Miedema: “Going there is not an option. It’s a 24 hour flight. You must be there for at least a week. That won’t work in our recovery program. I have weekly contact with national coach Andries Jonker and with the players. So I’m still involved with the team. I was also there during a training camp recently. My position at Orange is different from Beth’s position at England. I am very busy with tactics, she is more of a happy egg.

Mead: “Opposites attract, right? I’m definitely going to watch the England games. It’s hard to see it, but you still want to follow it. You can’t escape it either. Just as it is difficult to watch Arsenal play now. I sit in the stands and kick in the air. Viv is analyzing, haha.

Miedema: “We spend the time without football in a useful way. Last year I completed my study Business and Marketing. Together we also did a first training course, UEFA B. That was really fun to do. We did an internship at Arsenal under-14. We want to continue with that, also with an eye to the future.

Miedema, with a smile: “Maybe Beth can become my assistant…

Mead: “No way.

So many serious injuries, that’s no coincidence

Women’s football is plagued by serious injuries – Arsenal Women alone have had 4 players this season suffer ACL ruptures including Beth & Miedema, Leah Williamson (who should have been captaining the Lionesses at the World Cup) and Laura Wienroither. According to Viv, this is no coincidence. “First of all, we played way too much. The calendar is packed and it just keeps going. After the World Cup you will see that players get injured again.

But there is more, according to Miedema. “We at Arsenal have to stay fit with two physiotherapists for a complete squad of more than 20 players. How can that go well? Take Beth and me. We are completely different. Mentally, physically, we have a different menstrual cycle. But we do exactly the same recovery program. That is not correct. If we want to have fewer injuries in women’s football, that really needs to improve. It’s that simple. More people around us in terms of guidance. That is the responsibility of the clubs. Everything is so focused on the short term now. If we want to give this sport a serious chance, clubs must first take the risk and invest in order to benefit later.

These women are something to behold, and have obviously kept each other going through a very trying first year of their relationship. Hat’s off to them and hopefully we shall see them back on the pitch for our Gunners in the new footballing season..


Michelle Maxwell
Follow Michelle on Just Gooner Women on Twitter for regular updates on the Arsenal Womens Team!

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