Football in small villages that even have a history in second division; in Belgium it's not that uncommon. One of those examples is Wuustwezel; the former entrance gate to Belgium for many Dutch people. And surprisingly enough, there still is national football.
Wuustwezel is right at the border between Belgium and The Netherlands. Before the famous highway next to Wuustwezel was constructed, this pearl in the Campines was the place to be when you wanted to enter Belgium from the north. Nowadays it is a quieter place. But despite the peace and quiet, the village managed to keep up with modern developments. The industrial revolution included. After the cigar factory Verellen was created in Antwerp in 1868, they moved their production to Gooreind in 1905. Spicy detail; a long time ago, the borderline between Wuustwezel and Kalmthout ran right through Gooreind which led to some heated discussions between the two villages.
Two Verellen brothers are actually responsible for the football community in Wuustwezel as they created the team in 1916. It did take until 1923 before they decided to join the Belgian FA. Three years later they received matricule number 358. For several decades, the club played the regional leagues. Until 1975, when a wonderful era started. That's the year Wuustwezel FC promoted to the top regional league. After only one year, they promoted to the national leagues. The club was in fourth division, for the first time ever. Another year later, in 1977, they suddenly found themselves in third division.
Unfortunately the team had to leave their old grounds in the Kattegat after a dispute with the owner of the land. For a short spell, KWFC moved to Brasschaat before moving to a brand new stadium in the Hagelkruis (in the meantime, the Hagelkruis stadium is demolished). That also meant K Wuustwezel FC never got to play their absolute top years in their Kattegat stadium. In 1983 they promoted to the second division, but only for one year. In 1987, the club even relegated to fourth division. Two years later, they were back in the regional leagues.
Between 2000 and 2004, K Wuustwezel FC had one last taste of national football in the fourth division, as they have since played in the first and second regional divisions. In 2007, the pride of the Northern Campines returned to their trustworthy Kattegat stadium after the village bought the grounds from the previous owners. A last peak was in 2008, when they won the Cup of Antwerp.
But still you will find national football experience in the Kattegat stadium. You'd only have to look for a different first team. The ladies section of KWFC has been playing the first division of women football in Belgium for a couple of years now. Originally they were a part of Achterbroek VV, which was created in the 40s and added a female team by the end of the 90s. In a very rapid pace, they managed to promote to the national leagues. In 2011 they were in first division, the highest level at that time.
In 2012, the structure changed when the BeNe leagues were created (a co-op between Belgium and The Netherlands). The first division became the second level. At the end of that season however, Achterbroek VV was relegated. Again a year later, a difference in vision between the men's team and the women's team caused the ladies to move away. They found shelter at K Wuustwezel FC. In 2017, the ladies promoted to the first division again. And that's where they still are.
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