The aim here is to show the use of functional skills at a (very) young age in a world-famous youth-academy. It shows that leading youth-academies in the world spend time on training their youngest players master these skills. But we think that they tend to fail in taking the next necessary step; to teach and coach the older players to (still) use these skills within a game. Youth trainer/coaches introduce tactics too fast and force their players to play a passing game. Instead of giving youth-players the confidence and ability to practice these skills in the game, they are forced to focus on winning the game. We believe this is the reason for the fact that so little great players as e.g. Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta and Robben are delivered by youth academies. Young players learn the skills at an early age but unlearn them when they get older. So youth academies deliver players that can play a passing game but none of them can actually dominate the 1v1 or make the difference. Our aim with is to open their eyes.


"Yes, I am worried. Twelve years ago, when I was trainer at Ajax, there were talents as Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart. Extremely talented players. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, same story. These players were able to take out a defender and in this time that has become unique. Which player can take out a defender nowadays? Why do Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo and Robben make such a big difference? Because the are able to take out a defender. Then you create a man more situation on a certain area the pitch. That is exactly what we should stimulate to learn the youthplayers."

  • Ronald Koeman (Coach Everton, former player of Ajax and Barcelona). (Voetbal International week 51 2016, page 37)


"If players signed does not have a special bond with the team, it will be much more difficult for them to fit with the club. Emotional bond, ultimately, is lost? Yes, exactly. It is a detail that seems small but it becomes important over time. When a player comes to Barca, why does he come? To play at a big club in a big city, in a beatiful field because you earn a lot of money. But after two years, all that's normal. You seem normal to live in Barcelona, enjoy great weather, playing in a crowded field and earn huge money. What's left? There is hardly anything left to give you that extra incentive. That is lost. Hence my thoughts are with the youth system. Players from the youth system are very important. With some players from the youth system forming the football base, an emotional binding is created with in the club, with parents and with fans."

  • Johan Cruijff