Every year during spring holidays, Ajax hosts its Talent days. This week, 1.000 young players came to de Toekomst to show off their talents. A small number of participants will be offered a spot in Ajax’s youth academy. Rafael van der Vaart, Vurnon Anita and Gregory van der Wiel were all there, once upon a time.
One of the nice stories which always comes up around the Talent days is Jeffrey Sarpong’s. As a young boy, the forward once sent a letter to the Willem Wever television show, asking if he could become a professional football player with Ajax. The answer was: come to the Talent days. The rest is history. Sarpong’s talent did not go unnoticed; he earned a spot in Ajax’s youth academy, made his debut in Ajax 1 years later, and is now playing in Spain (Real Sociedad, currently he is on loan to NAC Breda).
Dutch internationals Rafael van der Vaart and John Heitinga also once came to Ajax’s Talent days as young boys. Just as current A-selection players Gregory van der Wiel, Vurnon Anita and Kenneth Vermeer did. The keeper once came to the Talent days as a footballer. Coordinator Hennie de Regt remembers it like it was yesterday. “A few years later, I ran into Vermeer, who was the keeper at Ajax C1. So you see: as a footballer, he didn’t make it through at the time, but he’s now Ajax 1’s keeper.”
The 1.000 participants, among which 180 keepers, will all hear from Ajax soon. For most of them, their day at Ajax will simply have been a great experience. But for a select few, it will be more. On March 14 and 21, the return days will take place. These lucky few will have another chance to show Ajax’s scouts and youth trainers what they can do. The best pupils will join Ajax’s new F1 and E3.