3 flights and 18 hours later…Jonathan Preston (2003 Boys Showcase) arrived in Amsterdam along with TSC coaching staff, Mike Otto (DOC U7 – U11 Boys) & Carlos Correa (DOC U12 – U15 Boys).
The three weary travelers will embark on a 10-day internship with Dutch Eredivisie leaders, Feyenoord Rotterdam. For Jonathan, the internship will provide him with an experience of a lifetime by training with the Feyenoord U14 Academy team. The experience will also include a trip to the local school and a playing time for a mid-week match competing against local competition.
As for the coaches, they will endure daily observations of training sessions, club presentations, academy match game analysis and Q&A with academy. The Tennessee trio will have their fill of quality, European soccer.
Day 1 found the three from Tennessee going straight to the Feyenoord Academy to take in the first set of games scheduled for the trip. The lack of sleep did not stop the three from enjoying the exciting matches between Feyenoords U18s and U19 teams competing against local rivals, Sparta Rotterdam and Excelsior.
Otto and Correa traveled to PEC Zwolle to watch Feyenoord continue their title bid only to see the Rotterdam side drop two points as the match finished 2 - 2. In spite of the result Feyenoord made things interesting in the match after going down 2 - 0 after the first 15 minutes of the first half. The second half of the battle left the traveling supporters along with their new interns feeling satisfied with a come back draw.
Feyenoord 9's training.
Cantina on the end of the Feyenoord Academy Stadium.
Forrest with his Feyenoord coaches.
TSC Director's Sandy Pollock and Earle Davidson with Feyenoord U18 & U19 Coaches, Jan Gösgens (u18) & Damien Hertog (u19)
Youth GK training
Training pictures of Ethan Henderson and Forest Wells with Feyenoord FC.
Gaston Taument giving Forrest instruction. Coach Gaston played for the Netherlands as a winger in the '94 World Cup & was a standout in his days at Feyenoord.
Ethan shooting after a sharp combo from the wing.
The Hot Tug ready for passengers.
Dinner with our Nigerian friends. Joseph and Kelvin were contest winners for their preformances in their championship in Nigeria. The prize was a week of training at Feyenoord.
Tour of Stadium Feyenoord, nicknamed De Kuip. Our Guide Jan gave us the history of the club, the stadium and even sang us the club songs.
Jan in the room overlooking the stadium where players sign their contracts.
The white structure on the field is a series of lamps to help the grass grow.
Fan made art within the stadium.
Coen Moulijn, Feyenoord's best ever player.
A memorial to fans and players who have passed away.
Ethan's and Forrest's second day of training with Feyenoord FC. Today was more intense.
5v5 with goal keepers.
u19's finishing exercise.
Technical work with the little guys!
On our way to dinner!
Monday was the first day for Ethan Henderson (2002) and Forrest Wells (2004) to train with Feyenoord FC. They were supplied with Feyenoord training gear (TSC boys in white). Additionally, they started and ended the session in the locker room with the guys on the team.
Ethan doing some crossing and finishing.
Ethan pulling off a bicycle kick on the first day of training. Audacious!
Forrest working on touch and vision with the midfielders.
Forrest in a midfielder 4 goal game.
Sunday morning, Rotterdam city tour with Carl (our guide). The city is quite modern, as many of the buildings did not survive World War II, so there is a visually interesting mix of old and new.
Old & new.
Carl & his t-shirt map, which he used extensivley & effectively.
Pre- game at a restaurant near the stadium (De Kuip). Feyenoord shirts everywhere. We grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant across the street from the stadium.
Starting them young.
Walk out to singing and clapping.
Possession with purpose
Dynamic in the final 1/3.
5-0 win for Feyenoord vs. Roda FC
Feyenoord was in control from the start. We saw many of the same principles of play from the youth games on Saturday carry over to the 1st team game on Sunday. Every team has it’s own individual identity, yet most successful clubs, such as Feyenoord, teach & recruit for “their” way of playing throughout to great success.
Similar principles we observed:
Feyenoord FC are in 1st place in the league (Eredivisie) at 7-0 on the season. They appear confident and the crowd support is impressive. 48,000 seats, sold out, as is every game. Chants, songs, applause & all the wonderful atmosphere you get from a crowd of support. Including the guy 5 rows or so behind us who yelled “hey” the entire match, no matter what was going on. We learned during the course of the game it means “go” or maybe "goal". Everyone was so friendly and helpful, including the heavily tattooed, experienced gentleman on the train, who was happy to help us find our way. He effectively deciphered our tickets to our benefit. Additonally, our new friend spoke of how the crowd always comes back, no matter how well the team does. (I will say he used the finger across the throat movement for many scenarios & I realized my lack of the local language challenged him). Many folks were sporting Feyenoord jerseys, yet he did not, nor did he let on that he too was going to the game until I asked, as we were separating. Big smile over his shoulder, with the response, “oh yes”. Another interesting component was that if you buy a ticket to a Feyenoord game, you can ride the train to and from the game for free!
See you tomorrow from the land of bikes and Total Football (see Rinus Michels - Johan Cruyff - Frank Rijkaard - Pep Guardiola - really good reading!).
First day in Rotterdam. Canals, windmills and lots of bikers. Commute to work, get the kids to the park, Rotterdam has a network of bike lanes to reach your destination and they are in heavy use.
Biking Family in bike only lane
Floating restaurant in canal
Next stop we got the boys over to the Feyenoord training ground for league matches for the Feyenoord 17 & 16 boys. 17’s - Feyenoord vs. AZ Alkmaar. 16’s Feyenoord vs. Vitesse. The Feyenoord teams have a distinct style of play with a 4-3-3 formation building through the 3 man midfield and emphasizing dynamic wing play. However, they would quickly bypass the midfield to the mobile forwards if the opposition crowded the midfield, making the playing area small. All the teams were highly organized and played quickly.
Forrest & Ethan showing the colors!
Feyenoord FC in blue
Feyenoord FC 16's in their traditional red & white (please excuse the thumb, it was too good of a picture to pass up).
Feyenoord FC with a chance on goal from a low cross.
Two TSC Directors and two TSC players travel to Feyenoord, Rotterdam, Holland September 24 - October 2 for an educational and training opportunity.