Hailing from Netherlands, John Heitinga was born on 15th November 1983 in Alphen aan den Rijn. Nicknamed as Johnny, is a Dutch football coach and a former professional football player who played as a centre back. Currently he is the manager of the Under-19 squad of Ajax.
A product of the Ajax Youth Academy, John played for their first squad from 2001 to 2008.
Heitinga quickly established himself as a strong addition to the team and became first-choice player.
After a one-year spell at Atlético Madrid in Spain, he signed for Everton in 2009. In January 2014, Heitinga joined Fulham for six months.
The following summer, he signed with German side Hertha BSC, signing a two-year deal with the club from Berlin and the following year, he returned to his first club Ajax in June 2015.
Having been represented Dutch international youth teams, John made his senior debut on 18th February 2004 for Netherlands in a friendly game against the United States and made an immediate impact.
Heitinga has over 85 caps since his debut for the Dutch, and has represented his country twice in World Cups (2006 and 2010) and thrice in European Championships (2004, 2008, and 2012).
John was part of the AFC Ajax youth team before making his debut for the first team against Feyenoord on 26th August 2001.
At the end of the 2007–08 season, Heitinga moved to Atletico Madrid for a fee of £8.8 million where he made 32 appearances in which he managed to score 3 goals.
Heitinga joined English Premier League club Everton at the age of 25, on a five-year contract for a fee of around €7.04 million. Heitinga signed for Fulham for a six-month deal on a free transfer on 31st January 2014 and scored the only goal for Fulham, in a 3–1 loss against Chelsea.
On 23rd May 2014 he was released from the club at the end of his contract and signed a two-year contract with German club Hertha BSC in June 2014. Ajax announced on 25th June 2015, that Heitinga would return to the club, joining on a free transfer from German side Hertha BSC.
Rise to Glory
Heitinga spent most of his career with Ajax having played for both youth and the senior team.
He came into prominence after back to back impressive performances for Ajax and eventually got a National call-up in the Netherlands national team.
It was the year 2008 when John rose to glory and was declared as the Dutch footballer of the year.
John was suspended for the last match of Euro 2004, when he was sent-off for two bookable offences.
He suffered a serious knee injury which kept him on the sidelines for over six months. He could not make a strong comeback, as he played only one game before suffering yet another injury which again sentenced him to a long period of recovery.
Heitinga was honored with Amsterdam Sportsman of the Year in 2001, AFC Ajax Talent of the Future in 2000–01 season, Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2004, Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2008 and Everton Player of the 2011–12 season.
Heitinga decided to retire from professional football on 1st February 2016, after playing only two Eredivisie matches in the first half of the 2015 season. He is currently the manager of Ajax Under-19 team.