18 June 2012
Ajax’s football expertise is coveted around the world. Large groups of football lovers, coaches and players want to share it. That’s why Ajax will be spreading its knowledge across various countries and continents this summer. A group of trainers will soon travel to New York, where, among other things, a rooftop clinic will be held.The New York trainings will take place in three locations. During the second week, Ajax trainers will be active in New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Academy Consultant Ed van Schaick will travel to the United States with a group. “This all happened through Claudio Reyna. He was a guest here a few years ago to take a look at how we do things. After that, he wrote a plan for American football, which contained many Ajax ingredients”, says Van Schaick proudly.
“In America, we don’t have a youth complex like the Toekomst”, said Reyna in August 2009. “This is a big, and perhaps the best, youth academy in the Netherlands. We’re nowhere close yet. That’s why it’s great for kids to see this. They’ll learn about the football culture here.”
Reyna told his football friends about the football culture in Amsterdam, and one of them got in touch with Ajax through the former football player. “He wanted to run a program in Amsterdam for kids from New York. We’ve now done that twice. We thought it would be a good idea to travel to New York this time, with our long term goal being to have a permanent influence in New York. We’ll be talking more about how to establish this during the summer.”
Ajax has tried before to get a foothold in the United States. “That didn’t go very well”, says Van Schaick who at the time, coincidentally – and in a different location – was working in the United States. “Ajax tried to set up a club, Ajax Orlando. That wasn’t the best choice”, says Van Schaick. “Florida isn’t a football state. Baseball and American football are the big sports here. A different choice may have worked better. But our intention isn’t to set up something like Ajax Cape Town in New York. We’re doing something for kids, boys and girls, who were selected in try outs. There were too many applications to take everyone. We’ll do something for the coaches on Saturday. That will be a bit more theoretical, and the structure of the academy will be discussed, and how we look at the kids in terms of scouting.”
The strong relationship with the people in New York is paying off in a different area. “Since they know us, they also sometimes tell us ‘we’ve got a player now’, which I can in turn tell scouting. Because we have a good relationship with these guys, they give us tips.”
Van Schaick and his team aren’t only travelling to the United States. “I’m taking care of international collaborations and will also go to Sweden. Some others are going to Udinese, Cyprus, Norway, and I was recently in Finland. I look forward to every trip, but New York will be special”, he says.