Hato transferred from Sparta's youth academy in 2018 and has since played 11 games in the Ajax first team. In addition, the defender has been in the starting lineup for John Heitinga's team the last three games.
The seventeen-year-old sees that things have moved quickly. "I haven't stopped to think about how fast things are going, but I didn't expect it either. Individually, these are great weeks. I showed myself well, which meant I was in the core squad the last few games. Now I want to get as many minutes as possible and work on my fitness so I can sustain 90 minutes every week."
Heitinga called Hato to see him this week. "I heard it from the coach this week and he told me that I am officially an Ajax 1st team player. When he called me I did expect something to happen, when we walked to the dressing rooms I knew." After he heard, he was the first to call his parents. "They were very happy for me."
"Jorrel has earned this," Heitinga says. "He has enforced it with his own performance in training and matches and is an example for boys from the U18 and Ajax U23." The Ajax 1st team coach has words of praise for the Ajax player. "Jorrel is only just seventeen, but very steady, has a good focus and knows what he wants. So now he also has his own place in the Ajax 1st team dressing room. That's a boost to all the other talents in our program."
As a 16-year-old, Hato had much to gain from Michael Reiziger when he first stepped onto the training field. "He helped me a lot when I got to compete with the big boys. Just like Jurriën Timber. He interacts with me a lot and thinks I should talk more. I am still young and sometimes find that difficult. It's nice to play with him. I enjoy every time I'm on the field and feel comfortable."
Head coach John Heitinga and Steven Bergwijn were very disappointed after the lost Dutch Cup final against PSV. Ajax lost after a series of penalties. "The boys fought, but we must face what is happening. This is dreadful for the fans too."