John Heitinga (Alphen aan den Rijn, 15 November 1983) has been head coach of Ajax's U23 team since the summer of 2021. He went through the youth academy at Ajax and played seven seasons in the main squad, before returning to Ajax 1 via Atlético Madrid, Everton, Fulham and Hertha BSC in 2015. After his retirement from football in 2016, the former international held various coaching positions within Ajax's youth academy. He was assistant coach to Marcel Keizer at Jong Ajax in the 2016/2017 season and led Ajax's highest youth team, the current U18, between 2017 and 2021.
Best First Division coach
In his first season as head coach in professional football, Jong Ajax finished in seventh place in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie. It earned Heitinga a nomination for the Best First Division Coach award. In addition, Heitinga has seen 16 youth players make their professional debut in Ajax U23 since he became head coach and five players from the Ajax U23 selection earn their first minutes in Ajax 1.
John Heitinga: "This extension makes me proud, and I am also happy with the confidence the club is showing in me with this. I enjoy working with the group of young Ajax talents every day. Together with my staff, we work daily on the process of getting these young footballers ready for the highest level. The new commitment will allow me to also develop myself even further as a coach at the club where it all started for me."
Gerry Hamstra: "We are very happy that we have been able to keep John with us for longer. Besides being a true Ajax player, he is a coach with great tactical and human insight. We are pleased with the development he has shown in recent years and are confident that he will also be of value to the club in the years to come."