European football experience at Feyenoord Academy for Canadian youth team

Last week a youth team of Feyenoord’s partner club Dutch Connections FC came over from Canada to Rotterdam to enjoy a true European football experience. The DCFC Academy, based in Toronto, brought some of their best talents in the age categories U13 and U14 with them. The players and their coaches faced an intensive week, which will help the DCFC Academy to both develop the individual players and their coaching staff. ‘This week showed us the European level in (youth) football’, says DCFC Academy Manager Alex Zimmer, ‘it is a good guideline to see the level that we want to achieve within our own academy in the upcoming years’. Dutch Connections FC and Feyenoord have already had a successful cooperation for over 5 years, organising Feyenoord Camps in Ontario, Canada.

Dutch Connections FC brought a total of 15 players with them, including one girl. The players enjoyed the European football experience that they were immersed in. This football experience consisted of intensive training sessions led by Feyenoord’s International Development Coaches David Toxopeus and Luka Lalić. The Feyenoord staff looks back on successful training sessions, in which the players showed their positive attitude and willingness. During three different friendly matches, the players were able to show what they learned by the intensive training sessions. The Canadians showed their skills against Feyenoord’s Dutch Academy Partners V.O.C. and BVV Barendrecht. DCFC displayed their finishing abilities during these two wins, scoring no less than ten goals, divided over respective scores of 5-0 and 5-1. The Toronto team also faced Feyenoord U14 team, which resulted in a loss for the Canadian guests.

International Development Coach Luka Lalić enjoyed working with the team and their coaches. ‘Our long-term cooperation with DCFC is becoming more effective as the time goes by. With a key focus on talent development, their coaches are very well-educated and always eager to develop more’ says Lalić. ‘The hand-picked talents they brought in were technically at a very decent level. Tactically there was space for improvement, but they adapted quickly in both training sessions and matches. Their last game vs Barendrecht was very impressive, as they were already able to apply what they learned in such a short period. Overall, it was a very successful trip for everyone involved, we look forward to having DCFC over in the Netherlands again, or visiting them in Toronto next year!’

DCFC’s Academy Manager Alex Zimmer was enthusiastic about the first ever trip for his players to the Netherlands. He calls the trip to the Netherlands ‘a nice extension of the partnership between both Academies’. In addition, Zimmer is looking forward to a continuation of the collaboration: ‘We are very pleased that we, as an academy, have the privilege to work together with one of the best clubs in Europe when it comes to player development. We strive to raise the level of our own academy to a higher level and I dare to say that this trip has contributed to improving the quality of our own academy. Besides that, we are happy that we can offer our players such an experience as this trip.'

The team also had time to explore the Netherlands, which they did by, amongst other activities, guided city walks through Rotterdam and Delft. In addition, the players visited home matches of all three professional football clubs in Rotterdam together with their parents and coaches. The Canadian guests found the visit to ‘De Kuip’ overwhelming and were also witness to the match between Feyenoord and PEC Zwolle, in which Feyenoord achieved a 3-0 win.

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