After the morning training session and lunch — and with a broad smile, Amourricho arrives in Jerez de la Frontera, Ajax's home during training camp in preparation for the second half of the season. How are things going? "I feel great and I'm playing football again. Winter break got off to a good start for me and I feel refreshed. I'm pleased about that."
The winger has seen his fair share of ups and downs since his official debut for Ajax 1 on 15 December 2021, in the cup match against Barendrecht. He has been battling with several injuries, which meant he was missing from the line-up more times than not. "I can be totally open about that: it was really tough. It felt like I was just about to get somewhere, but it didn't happen because of the injuries. My fitness was holding me back."
Amourricho recalls his first injury and talks about how he came to accept in his mind that he was getting injured more often. "To begin with it was easier for me to put things in perspective, because I just thought: this is my first injury, it's what happens. When it started happening more often, especially at times when things were going well, it started affecting me mentally. At first I really struggled. Luckily, I had support from other people and my mind stayed calm."
"In situations like these you have to be strong mentally and stay calm. As long as you have confidence in yourself, your mind stays calm. I was never in any doubt, I stayed true to myself and put trust in my skill set", continues Amourricho. He mentions his mother first when asked who gave him most support. "She is and always has been there for me. My mother and my friends gave me the confidence that I would make a full recovery, every time. Faith also has an important role to play, because I know that God has a plan for me. Everything has a reason, I always say. I believe He is putting me through all this so that I can grow stronger and be ready for whatever else lies ahead."
Amourricho extended his contract in May 2023, and on 8 October made his first appearance for Ajax 1 at home against AZ. The Ajax player grins from ear to ear when he thinks about it. "A dream come true. I blinked my eyes and thought: I must be dreaming. Finally reaching the point where I can show everyone that I am ready. I felt so proud. I first came to De Toekomst as a young lad, and then one day there I was in the ArenA — incredible. It's everyone's dream. Wearing the Ajax strip at a capacity ArenA, I was lost for words."
But just 41 minutes in, disaster struck again. A typically smart manoeuvre by the winger resulted in a new injury. "I hit the ground and immediately thought: this is not good. It was awful because I was having such a great time. It was all going so well, but I had to start again from scratch. It's difficult for a young lad to accept that his fitness is not where he wants it to be. But I was never in any doubt, because I am so positive. There will come a day when everything falls into place and after that the sky's the limit."
While fellow teammates continue sprinting back and forth in Spain, the winger continues talking about his way of thinking. "I do everything I can when it comes to things I can do something about. I want to improve as much as possible. Things I can't do anything about, I leave well alone." One subject he is tackling is nutrition. "I'm actively working with a nutritionist to see what works for me. Everyone's body is different. It's vital to understand what everyone needs on a normal day or coming up to a match. We have examined my eating habits thoroughly and made adjustments where necessary. I put a lot of effort into this, and I try to avoid mistakes."
Yet Amourricho sees his time off with injuries from a different perspective. "I have come to realise that your health is important in life. I was at the hospital this one time complaining about my ankle. But there were people there who had much worse problems with their health. It was a reality check for me. I have nothing to complain about."
The Ajax player also attended the previous training camp during the winter break. Now, one year on, he is nineteen and a lot wiser, he feels. "I have become an adult, with a calmer mind and better at communicating. I didn't use to pay enough attention to pain. Now I want to put all that behind me and look after my body. I've learned a lot here in Spain from players like Steven Bergwijn and Steven Berghuis." The fact that his best friend Gabriel Misehouy is also there is a real bonus for Amourricho. "It's terrific that we're both here, it's what we dreamed of as young lads at OSV Amsterdam. We have a close bond and I hope we will both seize our opportunities together."
Finally, the Ajax player is clear about the new year. "I have to stay fit, that's what counts the most. That should result in my breakthrough for Ajax 1, that is what I want." Working on his fitness is going well in Spain. "It's hard work out here and a lot of sweat", he concludes with a laugh.