People We Met

admin | August 13th, 2013 - 6:30 am

We met many of interesting people with many different backgrounds and personalities on our trip and they made this a very memorable experience for all of us.

A very unexpected group of people we met in Holland was a Japanese soccer team. We had the pleasure of living near them and playing several games against them. Sharing the bus with them made things a little tight but they were a very respectful and nice group of guys.

We were all shocked by the beauty of many of the women that were in the cities we visited. The women in the cities of Cologne, Nijmegen, and Amsterdam gained our attention so much we almost got run over in some of the streets. There were so many donks in Holland our eyes almost fell out of our heads.

The bus drivers we had on our trip were great people. Henk and Martin were probably the most impressive drivers we have ever seen. They were able to pick us up and drop us off in the toughest driveway to pull into. The street was really narrow and the hotel was in the middle of the woods. We thank them for the service they provided us.

There was also a person that reminded us of our home. Remko (aka Mr. Powers) looked like he could be Mr. Powers (a dean of our school). He also helped train Mike in the net, later defeating the team he coaches 4-0 (JVC Cuijk)

Several tour guides also provided us interesting information on different places in Holland. Malte was our tour guide for Schalke stadium and he showed us that amazing stadium in Germany. Joost (#2) showed us the Amsterdam ArenA (Ajax stadium). The most interesting of our tour guides was Maarten Dekkers from the WWII museum. Maarten was from the area during WWII and he told us several amazing stories about that time period. It was very cool how much respect he had for Americans because he remembers how the American troops liberated his home from Nazi control during WWII.

We appreciated the training sessions that the coaches provided us with. Joost trained us twice and those were very solid training sessions that helped us improve our skill. Reymond was another coach that trained us and he had the most spectacular calves we have ever seen (he put Jake’s monster calves to shame). Coach Henk gave us an informative lecture about the Dutch youth system and he also put an emphasis on our communication during our training session with him.

We lived in Eversbosch for about a week and we met a couple of very nice people who took care of us. Astrid was the head of the house and she really took charge. She provided us with meals and even though they were different, they tasted very good. Astrid was very strict but she was a great person. Isabella, Constance, and little Rosie were very nice and friendly and they were a great help. Vincent ( a restaurant owner) also made us two very delicious meals when we were in Groesbeek (close to Evers Bosch). The coolest guest of Eversbosch we met was Chester. He was a beautiful horse that was very friendly. We liked to feed him sugar cubes in our free time. The people of Eversbosch made our stay a great experience.

Last but certainly not least we met the legend JOOST!!!!!!! He was not just a man, he was a god. He was the coolest person we have ever met. He was so funny and very positive. He acted like he was one of us and joked around like he was still a kid. We respected him because of his chivalrous behavior. He made sure that we were set up with tickets to everything we went to and he made our time very enjoyable. He also taught us how to have proper manners at the table and around adults and ladies. He was a great guy and we will never forget him.

Overall, we found Dutch people to be very friendly. Regardless if they spoke English or not, they were always happy to help and make our time in Holland an enjoyable one. The teams we played were joyed to play Americans and all were up for a game. As we leave, we say Thank You!

Written by MI and VC.

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Last Day, It Must be Convery

admin | August 12th, 2013 - 6:08 pm

Final day in Holland. Left our accommodations early and headed to Amsterdam for the day and then to our final game in Aalmeer City.

Amsterdam is a big city, very busy and filled with history. We did a canal boat tour and saw some great architecture. Great mix of old buildings in perfect condition, new buildings with artistic flare, and some areas of ‘recreation’. We did some walking around in Dam Square area, it was busy with lots of tourists.

We did a tour of Ajax ArenA, the stadium looks awesome and would be great to see a game there. Had a chance to sit on the home team coaches bench and be an inch from the grass. Went up to the press boxes, the luxury for the royal family and VIPs, locker room and even saw a former player (Edwin Van De Sar, former goalkeeper of Manchester United).

Later, we played against Jong Aalmeer United. We started a little slow as we were all a little tired but always up for a game. We created many chances but were 0-0 at half. Second half was more of the same, created more changes than we scored. We won 2-1 but could have had many more.

Our final dinner was at a new hotel closer to the airport. Its a nice hotel and the dinner was delicious. Time to rest, heading back to the USA in the morning.

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Soccer, Soccer, Soccer: 3 games and free time (finally)

admin | August 11th, 2013 - 4:34 pm

Today was both the busiest and most relaxed day we had in Holland all trip. It started out similar to every day with a breakfast of cereal and eggs. We all went back to our rooms for about fifteen minutes before heading to the field for our round robin tournament. We played a total of three 35 minute games against three quality opponents. The first game was against SV Orion. They were the local club and a quality opponent. We had a hard fought game but only came away with a draw, 1-1.

The second game was against VV Eldenia. They were a mix U20 team and we could tell, some of their players looked so much older than the rest of us. We played well from the start and got the quick lead. We were able to play well for the entire 35 minutes and get the 2-0 win. The team fought hard and did well in all aspects of the game.

Our final game was against JVC Cuijk. This was the last game of the round robin. If we won then we would win the round robin. Our team got off to an incredible start by scoring in the third minute. We didn’t stop there, scoring another three goals in the remainder of the match. We won the final game and the tournament 4-0.

At the hotel every body prepared for the move to Amsterdam. Between lunch and dinner, we had free time and we played a ping pong and a soccer tennis tournament. They were both a ton of fun. We also played a huge 10 man game of war. Tonight was also our last dinner with Astrid and the rest of the hotel crew. We also enjoyed our long night with many different activities like soccer tennis, a bon fire and some games of poker. The night ended with great fun and hopes of a fantastic final few days.

Day 7 blog written by AW.

Pro Game Saturday

admin | August 10th, 2013 - 7:00 pm

This morning was a typical day in the Netherlands. We woke up and had breakfast at around 9:15. We then readied ourselves for the game. On our way to the game we listened to some tunes and got in game mode. WHile we were on the bus Matt thought it would be funny to scare us and told us that they were u19. As usual the facility was beautiful. The locker rooms were beautiful. Somebody forgot a sock, classic Tbomb. We ended up playing the u17 De Treffers, We were glad to play them but we would have beaten the u19 easily. We all played an exceptional game but we ended up losing 4-3. We had missed quite a few of open opportunities.

Next, we went to get pancakes. EVERYONE loves pancakes. We had a lovely waitress. THere were pancakes with apples, cheese, bacon, and just plain pancakes. From what I know everyone enjoyed the food. After our pancakes we were served strawberry and banana ice-cream, the pancakes were better. When everyone was finished we walked back to our accommodations. Yoost wanted us to walk in single file because it was a very dangerous road. The amount of thorns i got in my arms was ridiculous. We all took quick showers and split into three groups into Nijmegan. My group went into the stores and a few of us bought some nice clothes. Once we were done shopping we went to get food. We ate at Pacches. On the way back we got these heavenly tasting Doner Kebabs.

We traveled to Eindhoven to watch Eredivisie Division match between PSV v NEC. While we watched to go in, tons of fans we arriving by bus, train, bike and walking to the Stadion. Once inside, we got snacks and headed to our seats to watch warm ups. We learned that the PSV team were average age of 20. Their youngest player, #19 Zakaria Bakkali, was 17 years old, he was an amazing player and scored a hat trick. Philips Stadion was filled, a great atmosphere, a fun game.

Day 6 blog written by PB and RC.

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Its Friday, Must Be 1945

admin | August 9th, 2013 - 6:38 pm

It was another beautiful morning in Holland. We woke up at 9am to eat breakfast and then went to training with Henk Schaap from Ajax youth programs (who had done a welcome lecture when we first arrived). He was a strict coach, that only wears one red sweat suit everyday. All the little details mattered to him. He yelled at us a couple times in the intent to help us with our skills. We did a complex passing drill that helped us play more crisp soccer. After that we did a shooting drill that also had to do with passing. It was a pretty successful practice, I think in our next game tomorrow we will play better as a team and that we will win.

After training, back to the hotel for showers and lunch, we went on a tour of a World War II memorial cemetery and museum. The cemetery had over 500 grave stones of Canadian soldiers who fought and died in battles in this area. It was sad to see how many people sacrificed their lives to bring justice to Europe. Each family (from nearby Groesbeek) including Henk adopts a gravestone that they maintain and make it look nice. After the cemetery we went to the Liberation Museum 1944-1945. There we had a tour that started by watching a 12 minute film that had real pictures and voice taken during the battles in the area. The tour was long and interesting, the tour guide (Maarten Dekkers) was the best part – he was an older man, who was born just prior to 44-45 (the war period), grew up and still lives in the area. Mr Dekkers was very passionate about the subject matter and had tons of facts and details about how American soldiers were involved.

We had dinner at Olde Molen again and the food was delicious. After, we went to see a pro game, FC Oss against Ajax B team in the Dutch second division. it was a small stadium with a lot of security. There were not a lot of fans but the ones that were there were pretty passionate about their teams. The game ended with a 2-0 win for FC Oss. When we were leaving the game one of the players sister was trying to climb the fence to see her brother. A security guard grabbed her down and a scuffle occurred between them. One of the women called the security guards a fat f*** they got separated by my hero Joost. The player that they all loved was Danny, a group of fans chanted songs directed to him. Joost explained that they were chanting that he was “tired” because he wasn’t running very much (they chanted that from minute one). He scored the second goal and was praised by everyone. We then took the bus back and went to bed.

Day 5 blog written by SE and PL.

If its Thursday, its Nijmegen

admin | August 8th, 2013 - 6:36 pm

We woke up at around 8:30, went down stairs to eat breakfast and had wonderful eggs and cereal! Right after we headed out for training early in the morning with coach Yoost van Eldik. The training was very hard, starting with a fast paced jog around the beautiful turf field, then split into groups and played 3 v 2. After around an hour of that we got our one and only water break so far this entire trip. Lastly, we scrimmaged for the rest of the practice, with coach making some pretty great saves in goal. After practice, we got back to the hotel and ate a lunch of hamburgers and fries, finally something American!

We continued the day by visiting the NEC training facility and fields. We watched the first team warm up, participate in drills, and watched them scrimmage each other. After practice, on the way back to the locker room, we stopped former New York Red Bull player Victor Paulson, who now plays for NEC and was nice to take some pictures with us.

We stopped at the fan shop, and headed to Nijmegen city center, which is a beautiful city with many attractions and sights that can’t be missed if your going to The Netherlands. We split into groups, and walked through the town searching for good looking girls (and there were so many). We also stopped for food, and the waffles were awesome.

Originally we were scheduled to play NEC today, which is a pro academy club but they decided to cancel, sighting that their team had just begun training this week and didn’t want to play a game yet. We were disappointed with the cancellation but pleased that the organizer was able to find a replacement game. Aquila from Dreumel stepped in with 4 hour notice to arrange a game with their U18 team. The club has been in existence since 1892. We were told that Dreumel was a small town, that rarely get foreign teams to come play, let alone a team from USA.

As we arrived, everyone was staring and pointing because we were “Americans”. Personally, I felt like a famous player coming out the locker room and onto the field. Then when coach announced my name to start on the field with my friends the excitement was un-real! We got on to the field, and started the match. Even though they were biggest then us, we out hustled, and out played the other team, and won the game 4-0. At the end of the day, we got back to the hotel, hung out for a few minutes, and then we hit the bed, getting prepared for another day of soccer.

Day 4 blog written by OK and TB.

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Smells Like Cologne

admin | August 7th, 2013 - 6:17 pm

Woke up in the morning feeling like P-Rui. We got our bags on the bus, about to hit up Germany.

First stop, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, for a tour FC Schalke 04’s training facility and stadium. Once we arrived, we were fortunate enough see Schalke’s first team train for a few minutes. All the players looked focused and were very disciplined when warming up. They were all focused on one goal, preparing themselves for the season which begins this Sunday.

After watching them warm up, we headed towards the Veltins Arena. Our first impression was how beautiful it was and the size of the stadium which was enormous. While we were walking in, we noticed a very well kept grass field just outside the stadium. As the tour continued we learned that the field outside was actually the pitch that they play on but the field is mobile. They take the field outside, which weighs eleven thousand tons and four hours to move in or out of the stadium, for the grass to get sunlight because the stadium has a cover. We also learned many interesting facts about the stadium. The stadium can go thru seventy five thousand liters of cold beer per game. The field is also considered five star for hosting the UEFA Champions League in 2004.

Later, we traveled to Cologne, Germany. The first thing that most of us noticed in the city was the gigantic Cathedral (DOMM), located in the center of all the action, which began construction in the 1248 and ended in the 1400’s. Although the Cathedral was beautiful, my first impressions of Cologne were not great. In fact, one of the chaperones described it perfectly: “An outdoor Garden State Plaza.” The main road of the city was basically a line of multiple American stores: this disappointed me to say the least. However, my disappointment soon turned to joy when we veered off of the main road. The side roads contained authentic German clothing (lederhosen), and food stores.

Now the day was coming to a close, however we still had two, 40 minute, games to play. Our first game was against the German side Bayer Uerdingen. This was a very strong side, and we ended up losing the game 1-0. We were out classed by the opponents, but absolutely not out worked. Our second game of the day was against the Japanese side Sendai Niko. We ended up winning this game 3-2, with a little late game magic performed by JP and KC. Overall, the day was very busy and our games were extremely competitive. Personally, I enjoyed our experience in Germany.

Day 3 blog written by JP and MP.

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Fun Day; Tie Sendai Niko, Defeat OJC Rasmalen

admin | August 6th, 2013 - 5:38 pm

This morning we had a training session and worked on ball control and finishing. We worked with a Dutch coach (Reymond Verboom from FC Twente) who had 4.5% body fat and was extremely fit. At the end of the session, we had a brief game against Sendai Niko FC, a Japanese team touring in the Netherlands. Later in the day we viewed the outside of the PSV stadium, where we will watch a league game on Saturday night. We went inside the fan shop where we bought many jerseys, shirts, scarves, etc. Then we visited the PSV training facility where we watched PSV u-17 play against OHL from Belgium. (These are future pro players, and they were really good)

Soon we were off to our first game against OJC Rasmalen/Den Bosch u-17. We all played hard and well and came back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1. SE scored the equalizer and RC scored in the final minute. We learned many things on the Dutch style of play. We went to a local restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, we were slightly thrown off by the small portions of Europe, however the fact that we had ice cream for desert made up of it. We’re all exhausted from the long day and about to get some rest for the even longer day tomorrow in Germany.

Day 2 blog written by CZ and KC.

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Long First Day, Great Start

admin | August 5th, 2013 - 4:32 pm

This past day and a half has felt like a week. Most of us haven’t slept in 32 hours.

Things that we did this morning like land in Amsterdam and having delicious syrup waffle cookies seem like an eternity ago. But even before that we had plenty of experiences at the airport and on the plane. It was tough to say goodbye to our parents but we were all anxious to get to Holland. The plane was really nice but it was tough to get some rest. Once we landed we were immediately immersed into the Dutch culture seeing many hipsters and tall, blond Dutch women. We took a couple photos in front of a huge I AMsterdam sign then boarded the bus to head towards our hotel. As soon as we left the city it was miles and miles of farm land where we saw more cows than we could ever imagine, including four farmers trying to figure out how to get one out of a canal.

Once we got to the hotel we met a lot of nice people who will be running our trip who spoiled us with refreshments and the best syrup waffle cookies ever. After this we lecture by Henk Schaap, a player development coach for Ajax. We then headed to the Village of Groesbeek to do some exploring and shopping. After we returned everyone got a couple of hours of rest before dinner followed by a training session. The dinner was not our favorite, but we are here to try new things as well as play soccer.

Even though we were bummed our game got cancelled the training session was a great one. Coach Yoost van Elden ran us through some typical Holland soccer drills and really worked us hard. Even though we were all exhausted we put in the effort and it payed off: we had a great session. It was a good first day in Holland and we are looking forward to the rest of the experience.

Day 1 written by GQ and JT.

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Dutch Space is Different

admin | August 3rd, 2013 - 5:18 pm

Dutch Space is Different…

Total Football was, among other things, a conceptual revolution based on the idea that the size of any football field was flexible and could be altered by a team playing on it. In possession, Ajax – and later the Dutch national team – aimed to make the pitch s large as possible, spreading play to the wings and seeing every run and movement as a way to increase and exploit the available space. When they lost the ball, the same thinking and techniques were used to destroy the space of their opponents. They pressed deep into the other side’s half, hunting for the ball…

Lessons to Learn…

Emerge yourself in the culture. Open yourself to new things (even the chocolate sprinkles on toast). Explore, Dream, Discover.

League Play…

Regardless what part of Holland, there is great soccer. Being a small country, about twice the size of NJ, you’re close to seeing top teams play.

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