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"I look to see if the player has an enthusiasm to play; an enthusiasm to learn; If i give the player homework and they come back improved; you can tell by the way they move and the look on their face. It only takes a few seconds. Some players are shy and lack confidence so you have to give them more time. With some time and some care any player can become great. Some have a physical advantage but it's rare they excel unless they are nurtured. "The ball doesnt sweat" so those who master the ball and those who have a vision for the game and a burning ambition will always achive their goals in time. We just need time with those players to help them learn and give them opportunities". Gary Ireland. Director of Coaching PSV Union FC


"I find it terrible when talents are rejected based on computer stats. Based on the criteria at Ajax now I would have been rejected. When I was 15, I couldn’t kick a ball 15 meters with my left and maybe 20 with my right. My qualities technique and vision, are not detectable by a computer"

"People always said i was so quick. But they missed the point. I wasn’t that quick, I just started my run a fraction of second earlier than my opponent. So I looked quick. It’s all in the eyes"

"Where others train 1 team, we train 20 individuals. Where others see a youth program of 10 teams, we see 200 individuals"  

"When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball 3 minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe 4 minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably 2 minutes. So, the most important thing is:what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines wether you’re a good player or not."

"When you lead with 5-0, it’s much more fun for the public to shoot and hit the post instead of scoring a 6th goal. That’s just for the statistics. A ball on the post is more exciting. Especially if you can hear the ball hitting the woodwork."

"I have seriously considered playing with nine players instead of eleven in some cases. Just to keep them all awake. I’m certain we would have had the same or even better results." 

"I can’t work at AS Roma. Ever. They have an athletics track around the pitch. I hate that". 

"I am convinced that you have to do it like I do. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing it this way"

Cruyff interviewer while watching the opponent warm up: “Do you see that player? His kicking technique is lousy.” Why is that, the interviewer asks. How did you see that? JC: “I didn’t see it, I heard it. The sound of the shoe against the ball was not the right sound.”



Ajax begin looking for potential youth soccer players at the age of six. Scouts are employed all over thr world to keep an eye on the best players. The club holds a three day talent week event each week to spot any potential players. The talent week allows 1,400 young soccer players the chance to showcase their abilities in a series of tests and drills. The goal of Dutch youth soccer coaching is to develop players who are versatile and capable of playing a number of positions. Dutch players have a wizard like ability to control the ball with either foot, any part of the foot, and combine through the tightest spaces and barely perceptible lanes. Players like Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie are excellent examples of what Dutch youth coaching can develop. Dutch youth soccer coaching places a heavy focus on the individual, developing the ability of each player in possession to a level of true excellence

Enzo Bearzot. World Cup Winning Coach. Italy 1982

“Bearzot Speaks” (from World Soccer magazine).  

the following quotes are from the Italy 2982 World Cup winning coach Enzo Bearzot on Italian 1994 World Cup coach Arigo Sacchi. 

Sacchis views, he claims, come from a fixed point of view. Absurd because the opposition in the crux of the matter and it never allowed you “to interpret at your own pleasure. Sacchis is not real football, its virtual football, based on a geometric scheme”  Which means he says, getting hold of players, then the team as a whole, forcing them to make a series of movements, destined to become automatic, by means of repetition. It can be done says Bearzot. Even animals are capable of it. A dog which accompanies the blind can stop when the light is red and go when its green. But is this attractive football? How can you try for automatic play through repetition then change your dog every day? The contradiction between automatic play and changes is paradoxical, unless you regard the players as robots. “If this is the case then lets shut up shop”

Quotes from Professional Youth Coaches

“I am never looking for a result — for example, which boy is scoring the most goals or even who is running the fastest. That may be because of their size and stage of development”.  “I want to notice how a boy runs. Is he on his forefeet, running lightly? Does he have creativity with the ball? Does he seem that he is really loving the game? I think these things are good at predicting how he’ll be when he is older.”Ronald De Jong  AJAX 

"Between 1907 and 1988 the England U/15 Schoolboys played 410 games. 1251 players were “capped” for their country during this period. Of those only 29 (well under 3 percent) went onto play for the England National men’s team. This means that one in every 41 players identified and selected through a very sophisticated schools competition and tryout process were able to go “all the way” . So what does this prove? Except for rare instances it proves that 14 years of age is a lousy age to be labeling players as great and not so great and that identification programs need to be careful not to miss the “not there yet” group.“A Lousy Time to Label Players” Tony Waiters. October 1997