This article was written by Dave Brown. He and a group of coaches observed training sessions, lectures and matches during the WCC tour of Dutch Professional Academies. These observations were made during a game featuring the reserve teams from Ajax FC and ADO Den Haag. This complete article is part of the November issue of the WORLD CLASS COACHING Magazine and was uploaded to the Member Drills Database.
Jong Ajax (Ajax reserves) play their games at the Ajax training ground stadium on Monday nights in the Beloften Eredivisie, the highest reserve teams competition organized by the KNVB. Players must be aged 23 or below with three over-age “dispensation” players allowed on each team. The game we observed was a 3-1 victory over ADO Den Haag earned despite Ajax having a player sent off early in the second half for tussling with an opponent after a hard tackle.
Notable players on the reserve team included Mats Rits, an 18 year old Belgian U23 national team player marked for stardom, former PSV and Blackburn Rovers centerback André Ooijer aged 37, and striker Mounir El Hamdaoui, 27, who - though born in Rotterdam - has elected to play internationally for Morocco through parentage. El Hamdaoui previously scored 50 goals in 80 appearances for AZ Alkmaar before scoring 13 times in 26 appearances for Ajax in 2010. He is considered to be “exiled” to the reserve team after falling out with manager Frank De Boer.
Ajax youth teams famously play the same system as the senior team and in the case of the