The team of coaches within the youth academy is complete. In the new season, more attention will be paid to the players’ individual development. Wim Jonk (technical manager) elaborates, on behalf of the technical team.
The youth academy’s organization is comparable to the organizational culture of a Montessori-type grade school. Just as in that teaching method, Ajax focusses on individual support. For that reason, it’s becoming more and more important at Ajax to assign the right coach to each age group. This development is very clear when looking at how the coaches’ group has been set up for next season.
Wim Jonk: “It’s good when, as a coach, you’re specialized with a specific age group. An Ajax F1 player requires a different approach than a youth player who’s a teenager. Each age group needs specific teaching abilities from a coach. For example, in grade schools, you can see that some teachers have the right skills to teach grade 3, and another has the skills to teach grade 7 or 8. It’s important that the right people are placed in the right positions. And that’s true for Ajax’s you academy, too.”
Jonk clears up a misunderstanding. “People sometimes think of Ajax B1 as a higher or more important team than Ajax D1. That’s not the case. Both teams are important in a youth player’s development. That’s why it’s important for a player to have the best possible coach in both teams.
He takes F1 coach Dennis de Haan as an example. “Dennis has been coaching F1 with us for years. That’s his specialty. He loves forming young talents. He knows better than anybody that that’s where his strengths are.”
Marco van Galen is coming over from Almere City, where he was in charge of C2 in previous seasons. Van Galen takes on F2, a new team. “We want to develop more broadly. We especially see an enormous amount of potential with the youngest age category. That’s why it’s important that we’re getting an F2 team. That way, the pool becomes larger.”
Jong Ajax coach Gery Vink will take charge of the A2 juniors next season. Vink has coached A2 before. Fons Groenendijk moves over from A1 to Jong Ajax. “A2 is an age which suits Gery’s coaching talents very well. Considering the set-up of the coaching staff within Ajax’s academy, this is the team which suits him the best”, says Jonk. “Next to that, Fons is the type of coach that fits well with the reserves. He’s worked with Ajax before and took over A1 when Fred Grim left. Moreover, he’s stood on his own with Willem II and FC Den Bosch. That’s also more or less the situation for Patrick Ladru, who has succeeded Michel Kreek – himself, promoted to Almere City - as a technical manager of the middle category. After spreading his wings, he’s also now returning to Ajax. So he’s already familiar with the Ajax culture. The complete picture comes together quite nicely. We have a lot of confidence in this strong team.”
Orlando Trustfull and Said Ouaali are also getting new teams to manage. Trustfull moves from B1 to A1, while Ouaali goes from A2 to B1. Jonk says the following about the moves: “Orlando has developed well as a coach in the past few years. After two seasons with the B juniors, it’s good for him to go work with an older group now. This step is good for his development as a coach. There are no big changes for Said. He’s a good coach who’s proving to be a great team player within Ajax. In addition to that, he’s bringing a lot of experience to the table, and he’s now in possession of the professional football coach diploma. He fits in perfectly with Ajax’s vision.”
Willem Weijs is a new name within Ajax’s youth academy. He comes from PSV and will take charge of the E3 pupils. He succeeds youth coach Alex Geernaert, who is leaving the club. Jonk: “Willem has earned his stripes in the technique training area. He’s a great acquisition for our team.”
This year, other spot has been made in the coaching staff for former Ajax players. Nordin Wooter and Kiki Musampa thus join as technique coaches for the youngest players. In addition to that, Musampa will also be a coach at Almere City. In order to pay special attention to technique training at the youngest level, Leonardo Mouwen has been recruited as a technique trainer. Mouwen has also fulfilled this position with Manchester City and, just like Musampa and Wooter, has been doing an internship at the Toekomst for the past year.”