The Issues with Dutch Academy Football

The Football-Wonderkids secret academy player gives us a controversal but factual look at the issues with Dutch academy football and what it need to do to change.

Why is it that everyone in the world can see the deterioration of Dutch football except the Dutch?

How many more generations of young football players needs to be lost before the Dutch realize that RVP, Robben, Sneijder isn’t the problem or the answer and that the National team head coach isn’t the issue – that the problem is the stubbornness of the KNVB and perhaps the Dutch public with facing reality and adapting to survive.

A reality that the Germans faced and transformed their football. A reality that everyone around the world faced and transformed their football.

It is clear for anyone and everyone around the world to see that Dutch football is in the pits (they may argue that it’s not because the women, MOST OF WHOSE CORE PLAY AND ARE COACHED ABROAD) just won the Euros.

everyone but the Dutch seems to be tone-deaf to the facts except the people running Dutch football from the academies to the KNVB to the coaches to the administrators.

It seems like they enjoy and love the bubble they’re living in.

Everyone can see that “total football” “possession football” “building from the back” “keeping the ball on the ground” “no long balls” style of football is part of how you play football but NOT THE ONLY WAY TO PLAY FOOTBALL.

But no not the Dutch, According to the Dutch THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO PLAY FOOTBALL.

Possession for the sake of possession and an all or nothing purist approach to playing football that has seen the world leave them behind.

France vs Netherlands used to be a must win but even the most optimistic Dutch knew that France were going to beat them easily.

Even after the game, I see some “experts” saying Strootman’s sending off changed the game…no it could have been 5-0 with or without Strootman on the pitch.

Young french players are the cream of the crops and most sought after players in the world (Pogba, Griezman, Martial, Kante now Mbbape, Umtiti, Laporte, Varane…Belgium have to many to mention as well), the best players from the Netherlands playing outside of Holland are the aged players, Robben and in defense Blind…outside of that Dutch players have struggled outside of Holland.

While Netherlands sends a few abroad every year from their academies, those are the few that dare to be different, play the Dutch style but also improvise, be individuals which is why Belgium, France and Germany, all nations that border the Netherlands are ages ahead of the Netherlands in football because they face reality, are open to change, dare to be different and don’t ruin good player like th Dutch often do in their academies in the name of “teaching” them to be humble or “teaching them the academy’s style of play”.

I have seen Dutch academies ruin many good payers at some of their top academies like Feyenoord, PSV and Ajax.

They have destroyed promising young careers in the name of telling them to wait, be patient, earn it, wait their turn, keep working hard, you will get your chance, please everyone and never dare to be different.

So we can’t blame professional Dutch players who go abroad and fail and we see that every year (Depay and  Janssen to name a few).

It’s not due to lack of ability, it’s due to the mentality gap that they’ve been drilled and “taught” over the years from a young age………. don’t press, pass the ball till the ball says stop passing, if you’re a striker and you’re facing goal, play a pass, it’s better, if you’re a defender, don’t kick the ball long if the perfect opportunity presents itself, keep working the ball around until we build up.

Yes defenders, work the ball down the middle and come score goals because outside of the Netherlands, the opposition will just watch you move the ball up.

What is the problem with our football?

The culture and mentality: Yes I’ll say the obvious that no one else wants to say.

They accept mediocrity and shun players who are different, players that say I am the best, want to be the best, I am great, going to be great, players that think different, act different, play different.

The belief that if you standout you are bragging, the belief that if you do things differently you need to be taught, the belief that if you are special and don’t blend or fit in you are a show off and thus not good for the team or the club.

The belief that being an individual on the pitch and playing direct football that the rest of the world employs is bad and you need to be taught.

Those are the cultural issues. The belief that if you push yourself and let the world know that you push yourself and let everyone know that you are better than everyone even if you’re not but believe it is a problem, THOSE ARE THE CULTURAL ISSUES, those are Dutch issues.

The mentality that wanting to be the best is an issue in Holland, striving for #1 is a problem and as log as you try, that’s all that matters.

That mentality is a defeatist mentality, one that is not employed anywhere else in the world.

Children are raised to want to be the best and work hard to be #1 all across the world. In holland, you stick your head out and demand more from yourself its a problem.

The same clowns has told many young players to wait their turn, go through the process, be patient, they’re not ready…… which is why the best young players look abroad even with offers from Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord.

Which is why the league is substandard at best (see the champions league result of their league champions, minus Ajax bleep making it in a once in 10 years perfect storm even to make it to the Europa final last year) ANCIENT DINOSAURS.

That’s what the KNVB is, it’s ran by ancient dinosaurs who don’t believe in change, who are too blinded by their own ambitions to stir the pot, be radical, hire say Jurgen Klinsmann who started the German football revolution and got fired from US soccer for pushing for young players to ditch the sub par MLS and go abroad to learn and compete with the best.

The KNVB is so ancient, it doesn’t know how ancient it is, they can’t see that our academies are teaching a style of football that’s obsolete, that our coaches are handicapped by the structure set and laid by the KNVB so our young players are burdened with the expectation of playing “the right way” and are miles behind German, French and Belgium kids who are not stuck in 1820 and are more expressive when they play, think differently on the pitch because they view football as it is, not robotic, not from a template or handcuffed by the need to always play a certain way.

The KNVB can’t see that someone from the outside is needed to fix the issues with our football because we on the inside just fail to see that everyone else know and have known for quite some time…… WE HAVE AN ISSUE WITH OUR FOOTBALL AND IT HAS TO BE FIXED NOW BEFORE WE LOSE MORE GENERATIONS OF YOUNG FOOTBALLERS.

Are there many special players in their academy system that are frustrated by the structure?

I have spoke to many and the answer is yes!!

Everything is by the books, has to be a certain way….. rigid, no flexibility, antiquated rules and procedures and coordinators who have no business shaping talents.

Our Scouting/Academies/Structure: We have scouts who go around parading themselves as experts yet only a few breakthrough to the first team each year and the best players already are planning exits after a season here.

If we scout the right players, we will have better first teams that can yes dare I say compete in Europe.

The Ajax team that competed in Europe never played this basic simple, possession only style, Our academies are run by the same people who accept democracy from the KNVB, they don’t see special players at U13, U14, U15 and say to their coaches, please don’t destroy this player, I’m watching him, develop him because he has a chance to be special and end up on our first team.

I even heard that at a club in Holland, coaches were unhappy with an academy manager that wanted to change things and do things differently and got him fired.

We have coaches at the top academies who are under enormous pressure to win (Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV) – ask any one of the coaches there what happens when they have losing seasons.

We forget that to win, we must develop, to develop, we must allow coaches the full freedom and authority to determine and shape their teams.

Instead, coaches are beholden to coordinators who do not always/rarely know whats best for the teams.

Coordinators who determine playing time and are essentially king makers.

Coordinators whom most themselves are failed football players who are now in charge of shaping talents.

You have scouts recruiting players that are friends of the clubs or donors or children of former players, we have players scouted to clubs that DO NOT BELONG THERE, but are there due to who their parents know.

We have people who judge players at tryout who CONSTANTLY PICK THE WRONG PLAYERS and wonder why they lose every year.

What is the Future?

Holland will likely not qualify for FUTURE WORLD CUPS AND I CAN BET ANYTHING ON IT WILL NOT QUALIFY BECAUSE NOTHING WILL NOT CHANGE, THE REST OF EUROPE ARE DEVELOPING WORLD CLASS PLAYERS, THE NETHERLANDS IS NOT and the prospect for the future is just as bleak because as always we know best, we are fine, we know football more than everyone and nothing needs to change.

There are many foreign players, coaches in academies in France, Germany, Belgium and England but very very few if any in the Netherlands…… this is another issue, no injection of a different mentality, style, ideas.

Foreign players stay away from the Netherlands because of the rigid nature of their coaches, staff, players administrators because as always the know best even when it’s clear that they don’t.

They can’t be wrong even when its clear that they are. Most of the foreign academy players in Holland are not truly foreign at all (Belgium players who live by the border at PSV).

The remaining academies have maybe 3-4 maybe 7 total from U9 to U19 and some academies have zero foreign players.

I can go on and on about the issue with our football but I know it will fall on deaf ears because we the DUTCH KNOW IT ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD WHO SAYS OUR FOOTBALL’S IN A RUT SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT.



About the author: Secret Academy Player

Our Secret Academy Player is a Under-15's player for European Cup winning club and a current youth international.

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