During our recent tour of Holland, both players and officials in the Sydney FC Academy were allowed the opportunity to go into Ajax’s training facilities and undergo physiological testing and professional development.
The staff were welcomed into De Toekomst, which is Ajax’s training facility, and enjoyed a full day of professional development that will only further enhance the great system in place for the Sky Blues currently under the leadership of Sydney FC’s Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross.
The players were lucky enough to train inside The Dome the day before their games against them, and were tested in speed and agility to enable comparison with the Ajax youth players.
Sydney FC’s Technical Director – Youth, Kelly Cross said: “This was an excellent opportunity for both players and staff. Ajax shared with us their vision and values, and our staff participated in some deep discussions with their staff.
"I was interested to see that ‘Cruyff qualities’ were a key part of their desired player competencies.
"We also discovered that at Sydney FC we have similar processes to Ajax around scouting and recruitment."
The games against Ajax were very tough but the Sky Blues competed, going down 1-0 in the U15s match in a very even encounter, and 5-0 in the U13s game where the score-line did not fully incorporate the closeness of the contest throughout. The presence of several very tall and well-developed players made life very difficult: ‘Don’t worry’ said the Ajax U13 coach, ‘they score goals against our Dutch opponents every week’
Ajax are the biggest club in Holland and over the years have produced the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Luis Suarez, Christian Eriksen and even our very own marquee Siem De Jong, who signed for the Hyundai A-League side this season.
The Sydney FC players have already begun a process of reflection, using the match experiences here to review their Individual Development Plans and consider modifying them.
For many of the Sydney FC staff and players this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rub shoulders and learn from some of the best in the footballing world, and they were all very grateful for the opportunity they had during their time in Amsterdam.