The students of the Master in Football Management from the Real Madrid Graduate School – Universidad Europea enjoyed a trip to Holland for 5 days where they were able to learn how some of the most important clubs from the country like Ajax, Az Alkmaar, Feyenoord or the Netherland Football Federation itself work.
On Sunday the 3rd of February, the students of the Master in Football Management travelled to Amsterdam, where, over the next five days, they enjoyed an unforgettable experience full of learning. After visiting the city, they celebrated the birthday of one of the students of the master, David Fuster, who also received a few presents from the students.
On Monday they had an early start at 10.15 at the Ajax Sports City, where Marco Van Galen, the team’s coach, explained the structure of the pool of young players of the club, followed by a visit to the sports city and a brief explanation about the way things work there.
When the visit was over, and almost with no time for a quick snack in the sports city itself, they had an appointment with Percy Van Lierop (Coordinator of the U13-U15 categories) who explained the details of the philosophy and the methodology of the work of the younger categories of the club. Just after, Rik Verhage, coach of the U9 team, explained to the students his team’s training session, that they attended afterward as observers. When the training was over, Rik explained how the field work was developed.
To finalise the day, the students attended a match of the Dutch league second division played by the Az Alkmaar Jong.
On Tuesday, students went to the Johan Cruyff Arena where they had the chance of listening to the person in charge of recruiting for new goalkeepers, who spoke about the work that they do in the recruitment department in the club.
Around 14.30, the students had the opportunity to watch the pre-match talk of John-Heitinga, a former professional football player from Ajax, Atlético de Madrid and the Dutch selection, and who currently leads the U19 category at the Ajax team in Amsterdam. When the talk ended, they attended the training sessions of the different categories of the team.
In the evening, they went to the facilities of the Dutch Football Federation where the master students listened to a talk about how the Federation works and what they do. When the talk ended, and to finish the day, the students went on a little tour around the facilities where the students had dinner in the canteen of the Dutch Football Federation.
On Wednesday, the students visited the Az Alkmaar Sports city, where Robert Franssen explained the style of play of the club and how it is developed. At 11.00, they attended the training session of the first team. After that, and after taking a little break to have something to eat, Jeroen Peetoom talked about the new football trends and its influence in the club. At 2 o’clock, they walked around the Sports City and its different departments. One of them included a virtual reality room.
Thursday was a rather intense day for the Master students. They travelled to the Rotterdam Feyenoord Sports City. Very early in the morning, they attended the first training sessions of the day, which in this case, was the U15 category, where they could observe the work done by Roy Makaay with the strikers. They later watched the training session of the U19 category lead by Dirk Kuyt.
Rick Cost, a physical trainer of the club, explained the work methodology of the lower categories, followed by a chat by Raymond van Meenen, General Manager of the farm system of the Feyenoord, who gave some details about his job and the methodology he uses with the lower categories. To finalise the day in Rotterdam, the students of the master visited the Club’s Fan Shop.
During the last day in Amsterdam, the students listened to Marjin Beuker’s talk who explained the culture at AZ Alkmaar. When the speech was over, Chris Wenker and Richard Rietveld, physical trainers of the team, explained to the master students how they develop their job in the club. They also had a master class by the Coach Bart Heuvingh, who is in charge of the 24/7 performance programme.
This was the cherry on top for a wonderful experience, thanks to both, the programme and the learnings, as well as the great moments lived in Holland.
Miguel Angel Ulecia Mayor
Student of the Master in Football Management
National Football trainer
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