Sparta Rotterdam

Sparta Rotterdam (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈspɑrtaː ˌrɔtərˈdɑm]) is a Dutch professional football club based in Rotterdam. Established on 1 April 1888, Sparta Rotterdam is the oldest professional football team in the Netherlands.

Sparta Rotterdam
Full nameSparta Rotterdam
Nickname(s)De Kasteelheren
(The Castle Lords)
De Rood-Witte Gladiatoren (The Red-White Gladiators)
Founded1 April 1888 (1888-04-01)
GroundHet Kasteel (The Castle)
ChairmanLeo Ruijs
ManagerHenk Fraser
2018–19Eerste Divisie, 2nd (promoted in play-offs)
WebsiteClub website

Sparta currently compete in the Eredivisie, the top flight of Dutch professional football, having won promotion from the Eerste Divisie in 2018–19. The club is one of three professional football clubs from Rotterdam, the others being Excelsior (est. 1902) and Feyenoord (est. 1908).


On 1 April 1888, several students from Rotterdam founded a cricket club called Rotterdamsche Cricket & Football Club Sparta. In July 1888, a football branch of the club was established. In 1890, Sparta played its first real football match, and in 1892 Sparta disbanded the cricket branch. Sparta was promoted to the highest league of Dutch football on 23 April 1893. In 1897, Sparta withdrew from the competition after continuous dubious arbitration of Sparta matches. The club continued to exist, however, and in 1899 the board of Sparta visited a match of Sunderland. Impressed with the red-and-white jersey of the English club, the board decided that Sunderland's colours (red-white striped jersey, black shorts) would henceforth be the colours of Sparta.

In 1905, Sparta initiated and organised the first home match of the Netherlands national team, against Belgium. The match, won 4–0 by the Netherlands, was a rematch of a game two weeks prior, when the Netherlands beat Belgium 4–1 in Antwerp, Belgium.

The first match at Sparta's new stadium, Het Kasteel (The Castle), in the Spangen area of west Rotterdam, was played on 14 October 1916. The stadium was renovated in 1999 and is still Sparta's stadium.

Until the 2002–03 season, Sparta had always played at the highest level, but after they appointed the former international player Frank Rijkaard as a manager they were relegated from the top-level Eredivisie in 2002. That made Rijkaard resign from his position[1]. Sparta returned to the Eredivisie for the 2005–06 season. They were relegated again in 2010. On 20 August 2010, they equalled Ajax's and Heracles Almelo's Dutch league record win when they defeated Almere City 12–1[2] with Johan Voskamp scoring an Eerste Divisie record 8 goals on his debut.[3]

After six years in the Eerste Divisie, Sparta again won promotion to the Eredivisie in April 2016 after a 3–1 win over Jong Ajax won them an unassailable lead over second placed VVV-Venlo.[4] However, they were relegated for the third time in their history in May 2018 after they were beaten 1-3 on aggregate by FC Emmen in the promotion/relegation play-offs. The result proved to be a historical one since Emmen won their first ever promotion to the Eredivisie.[5]

Sparta has won six national titles (1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915 and 1959) and three national cups (1958, 1962 and 1966).

Meuse/Scheldt Cup

The best footballers of Rotterdam and Antwerp contested a yearly match between 1909 and 1959 for the Meuse- and Scheldt Cup (Maas- en Schelde Beker). It was agreed to play the game at stadium Het Kasteel in Rotterdam and at the Bosuilstadion in Antwerp. The cup was provided in 1909 by Kees van Hasselt from Rotterdam and P. Havenith from Antwerp.

Youth program

The Sparta Jeugdopleiding (English: Sparta Youth Academy) is a four-star certified youth academy and amongst the strongest in the nation, having won the national academy of the year award on several occasions.[6] Several International footballers have progressed through the ranks of the academy, including Danny Blind, Danny Koevermans, David Mendes da Silva, Ed de Goey, Winston Bogarde, Memphis Depay, Henk Fräser, Jan van Beveren, Georginio Wijnaldum, Anwar El Ghazi, Jetro Willems, John de Wolf, Kevin Strootman, Rick van Drongelen and Nick Viergever, Marten de Roon amongst others.[7]



1908–09, 1910–11, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1914–15, 1958–59
1957–58, 1961–62, 1965–66
1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1925, 1929, 1953, 1956


  • Rotterdam Easter Tournament

Runners-up (2): 1934, 1948[8]

Domestic results

Below is a table with Sparta Rotterdam's domestic results since the introduction of the Eredivisie in 1956.

Sparta in Europe

  • Q = Qualifying Round
  • 1R = First round
  • 2R = Second round
  • 3R = Third round
  • 1/4 = Quarter-final
Season Competition Round Club Score
1959–60 European Cup 1R IFK Göteborg 3–1, 1–3, 3–1
1/4 Rangers 2–3, 1–0, 2–3
1962–63 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Q Lausanne-Sport 0–3, 4–2
1966–67 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1R Floriana 1–1, 6–0
2R Servette 0–2, 1–0
1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1R ÍA Akranes 6–0, 9–0
2R Coleraine 2–0, 2–1
3R Bayern Munich 1–2, 1–3
1971–72 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1R Levski-Spartak 1–1, 2–0
2R Red Star Belgrade 1–1, 1–2
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1R Coleraine 4–0, 1–1
2R Carl Zeiss Jena 3–2, 1–1
3R Spartak Moscow 1–1, 0–2
1985–86 UEFA Cup 1R Hamburger SV 2–0, 0–2 (4–3 n.p.)
2R Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–1, 1–5

Current squad

As of 1 September 2019

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
GK Tim Coremans
GK Michael Fabrie
GK Ariel Harush (on loan from Hapoel Be'er Sheva)

DF Dirk Abels
DF Suently Alberto
DF Lassana Faye
DF Khalid Karami (on loan from Vitesse)
DF Bradley Martis
DF Jurgen Mattheij
DF Lorenzo Fonseca
DF Bart Vriends

MF Adil Auassar (captain)
No. Position Player
MF Ugur Altintas
MF Ayoub Boukhari
MF Deroy Duarte
MF Laros Duarte
MF Abdou Harroui
MF Dante Rigo (on loan from PSV)

FW Ragnar Ache
FW Halil Dervişoğlu
FW Gianni Dos Santos
FW Mohamed Rayhi
FW Joël Piroe (on loan from PSV)
FW Lars Veldwijk

Reserve squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
GK Jomar Gomes
GK Kenny Lipman

DF Noah van Geenen
DF Davy Kaptein
DF Diederick Luydens
DF Kevin Ringeling
DF Vincent Schippers

MF Ugur Altintas
MF Ayoub Boukhari
MF Levi Bouwense
No. Position Player
MF Jaimy Brute
MF Joshua Kozuh
MF Sven Mijnans
MF Joshua Sanches

FW Ioannis Bouras
FW Brad van Hoeven
FW Youssef El Kachati
FW Marc Ripmeester
FW Gianni dos Santos
FW Elayis Tavşan
FW Youri de Winter

Former managers

See also


  1. "Rijkaard quits at Sparta". 31 May 2002. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. Sparta evenaart record Ajax en Heracles - De Telegraaf (in Dutch)
  3. Acht treffers bij debuut - De Telegraaf (in Dutch)
  4. Sparta Rotterdam terug in de eredivisie - NOS (in Dutch)
  5. Emmen schrijft geschiedenis met promotie, Sparta degradeert uit eredivisie - AD (in Dutch)
  6. "Jeugdopleiding Sparta beoordeeld met 4 sterren". Rijnmond TV. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  7. Hamilton, Chloe (22 October 1995). "Exponenten uit de jeugdopleiding van Sparta Rotterdam". Sparta Jeugdopleiding. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
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