Morning Star Staff
The Dutch have invaded Vernon soccer fields, and they come bearing new philosophies.
The TOPSPORT Euro Soccer Academy is up and running and just completed their first training camp of the summer.
Head coaches Erick Burnet and Remco Wijnhorst brought in their ace – Hans Schrijver – for the camp.
Schrijver was head coach for the Dutch National U20 team from 2006-2010 and has coached an extensive list of Premier League teams in the Netherlands and outside his native country. His main passion in soccer is youth development.
“The camp was good and the children were very good,” said Schrijver. “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world – Canada, South Africa, Netherlands – children all want to play the game so we make sure we play games and have fun.”
Their camp ran earlier in the month at Grahame Park. The group was divided into three divisions based on development, skills and age.
Burnet has been coaching rep in Vernon for nearly 10 years and has noticed a style of play that he would like his players to move away from.
“So many teams and players just dump and chase – very vertical games,” said Burnet. “It doesn’t always have to be a physical game like that. We want to teach smarter solutions and smarter soccer.”
Burnet and his team plan on doing so by installing their Dutch-version of soccer.
“We don’t want them just doing drills, we play a lot of games. In those games you work on techniques, learning and having fun at the same time,” said Schrijver.
Wijnhorst said he was thrilled with the results following the camp.
“I was very proud of the kids this weekend. There were lots of smiles and there was good improvements from Friday to today (Saturday),” said Wijnhorst.
The next TOPSPORT camps will run every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for two hours from July 14-24. Another camp will follow Aug. 25-Sept. 4.
Schrijver has massive dreams for the program. Prospective athletes are going to make sure their passports are up to date.
“We want to expand the program and get players to college or even Europe,” said Schrijver, who has several connections with soccer clubs in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe. “Hopefully one day we can send players to Europe for a tryout with pro teams or even bring one of our teams over there for a camp and to play against Dutch teams.”
“Right now we are taking it step by step, but with growth we hope to service Western Canadian soccer players and unlock additional levels of soccer that aren’t available for most Vernon kids right now,” said Wijnhorst.
Wijnhorst and Burnet are in Vernon permanently and Schrijver makes the cross-Atlantic flight for camps.
Schrijver was holding out hope for the Dutch women’s team during the World Cup, but wasn’t going to be surprised if Canada advanced following their match Monday night (Canada defeated Switzerland 1-0).
“I scouted the Dutch team at the Olympics and I got the chance to watch and talk to people about the Canadian team,” said Schrijver. “It wouldn’t surprise me if Canada won (the World Cup).”