For her second year in The Netherlands, Kelsi Lidge, an American basketball inspiration, continues to make waves with her powerhouse performances. From her college days with the Drexel Dragons to gracing the courts with the Den Helder Suns and now continuing her jersey at Binnenland in Barendrecht, Kelsi's journey is a testament to her love for the game, unwavering competitive spirit, and relentless pursuit of excellence. This power forward will do to win, whatever it takes!
A Passion Ignited at Eight
Discovering her love for basketball at the tender age of eight, Kelsi embarked on this thrilling journey alongside her sister. Guided by her mother, who served as their coach, the Lidge sisters' early years laid the foundation for the competitive edge that defines Kelsi's playstyle today. “I have always loved sport in general, for the fact that soccer and basketball were my favorite sport to play,” Kelsi says. “Basketball had something different, like the physicality and to play in a team with five players on the court. I am a team player all the way, and I have always loved the style of the game and where a game can take you. I love that sport for that!
Once I started dribbling on the court, she was like ‘basketball is the sport for you to play’. I allowed myself to grow within the sport. It started to turn out that me and my sister are very competitive. That’s why we started playing in a more competitive league.”
College years at Drexel Dragons
As a Drexel Dragon in Philadelphia, Kelsi's four-year college basketball tenure was marked by transformative growth. From a shy freshman to a team leader and captain, she embraced versatility, showcasing her skills across various positions. “I played in college at the Drexel Dragons in Philadelphia. Playing for four years is a lot of time. I can say that I put in a lot of time and effort as a playing. From a shy girl during my freshmen year I grew up as a leader and captain of the team, as well as being open to play on every position. I started as a small forward, though I went playing as a point guard, small forward and center during those years. If you are willing to be a little stronger and smarter, you can find ways to maneuver around the big players. I loved my time at Drexel!”
Beyond playing: coaching
Kelsi graduated in 2018, and from then she coached for Drexel. “I was still involved with basketball, even though I didn’t play. Sarah Curran was my college team mate, and she also played in The Netherlands. I was talking with her, and I still wanted to play basketball. She introduced me to Mario Bennes, the coach of the Den Helder Suns. That’s how I came to the Suns.”
Transition to Den Helder Suns
In 2022 Kelsi went to play basketball again. She was a big factor for Den Helder Suns. Under the guidance of coach Mario Bennes, Kelsi found a mentor who shared her competitive spirit and fueled her passion for improvement. “Mario Bennes is a great guy, someone who definitely knows a lot of basketball. During one time-out, he switched a play a little bit. That came out perfectly. He wants you to get better and grow as a player. I really appreciate to play for him, and he is competitive just like me! It is nice to have that kind of spirit in the team.
The team was very open armed to a new player. They lost a lot of players that year, so the team is quite changed. I was welcomed in, and I love the fans and the parents. I really appreciate that, because being away from my family is always though. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the championship, but I am really proud of everyone! I made new friend, and I am so happy that I played there.”
The competitive drive and sacrifice
Kelsi's competitive nature has always been an inspiration. Her willingness to sacrifice her body for victory echoes her unyielding determination. Through setbacks and successes, Kelsi remains steadfast in her pursuit of reaching the pinnacle of her athletic career. “I have always been a competitive child, in every way. To want to win you have to have the mentality to do whatever it takes. Playing soccer helped me a lot, so I dove after every chance of possession. If you want something, badly enough, you have to do everything to reach those kinds of moments. I am willing to scarify my body to win, and to reach the highest stage as possible!”
As Kelsi Lidge continues to carve her legacy in Dutch basketball with Binnenland, her journey is a compelling narrative of passion, growth, and the indomitable spirit of a true athlete. With each game, she leaves an imprint on the court, inspiring aspiring players and fans alike to embrace the challenges that come with pursuing greatness.