After saying his formal farewells at De Kuip on Sunday, Giovanni van Bronckhorst took charge of Feyenoord for the last time...
In the first week of March two youth academy teams of St. Louis Scott Gallagher paid their annual visit to the Feyenoord Academy. During this 10-day trip, the development and evaluation of the current football capacities of the young talents was the main topic. Feyenoord’s International Development Coaches David Toxopeus and Luka Lalić were responsible for conducting the training sessions for both teams. ‘These players have left a good impression on us’, says Luka Lalić. ‘Not only because their footballing abilities, but also because of their interested and respectful attitude. During this intensive training week, we mapped out the capacities per player and discussed them in a individual feedback session. In this way we contribute to the development of these players and we can build on these findings when we work with the same players again in the future.’
The program consisted not only of training sessions, but also of friendly matches against academy teams from Excelsior and Feyenoord. On Tuesday, 5th of March, both teams played against their peers from the Feyenoord Academy. The U13’s from Feyenoord and St. Louis drew 0-0, while the U14’s from Feyenoord managed to achieve a 2-0 victory against their American opponents. On Thursday, 7th of March, games were played against the same age category of the Excelsior academy. The U13’s of St. Louis lost 0-3 to Excelsior, while the U14’s managed to get a 3-2 victory over their Dutch opponent. An extra special moment was the very hospitable offer from Excelsior to allow both teams to play one half in the ‘van Donge en de Roo stadium’. All the players had watched the game between Excelsior and PSV in this stadium at their first day in the Netherlands and received a VIP treatment.
In addition to the footballing activities, there was also room for team building and relaxation. Three first division matches were visited, the highlight being the match between Feyenoord and FC Emmen. During this match, the guests saw Robin van Persie score his first hat trick in the Eredivisie. On Thursday, the group returned to De Kuip again, to discover the stadium during a stadium tour. All the players, coaches and family members that travelled to the Netherlands were shown around the cities of Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague by a guided city walk. The players ended their trip with a visit to Adventure City, where they climbed several height trails.
St. Louis Scott Gallagher and Feyenoord entered into an educational partnership in 2014. Both clubs benefit from this partnership. Feyenoord helps its American partner to develop their academy curriculum, while Feyenoord generates exposure in the US. Saint Louis FC is currently active in the USL Pro (2nd professional level in the USA), but strives to move on to the MLS, the highest football competition in America, in the coming seasons. ‘As a club, we are very happy with St. Louis FC as a partner club due to their commitment and loyalty’, says Gido Vader, International Relations Manager at Feyenoord. ‘This American club is developing itself with major steps in all areas. We want to help the club with the final step towards the MLS in the upcoming seasons and continue to support the development of the academy, the youth players and the staff involved’.