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The Feyenoord youth teams that won their league or the cup this season were lauded for their achievements at Rotterdam City Hall on Tuesday. Arriving on the official Feyenoord club coach, the captains, players, coaches and other backroom staff were welcomed by the city’s portfolio holder for finance, culture and sport Adriaan Visser and photographed with their trophies. ‘It is an honour to be lauded in this way.’
Shortly after arriving at the impressive edifice on Coolsingel in the heart of Rotterdam the Feyenoord Academy players and coaches proudly posed with their trophies. They then proceeded to the Burgerzaal, City Hall’s main reception room, where they were welcomed by Adriaan Visser.
‘What you have achieved this past year is fantastic,’ said the city’s portfolio holder for finance, culture and sport, referring to the national title in the B1, B2, C1 (divisional champion) and D1 classes, as well as the Nike Cup and the Super Cup in the A1 class. Not forgetting the Rinus Michels Award for the best youth academy in the Netherlands. The portfolio holder then addressed the youth players themselves. ‘As players at the Feyenoord Academy you are role models. Boys and girls of your age look up to you. If you take your responsibility and remain true to yourself I’m certain that lots of trophies will follow in the future. And then you’ll be on the balcony, because that is exclusively for players who win the championship as part of Feyenoord’s first team.’
While youth academy head Damien Hertog showed his appreciation for the invitation by presenting the portfolio holder with a framed jersey, Gaston Taument was unable to stop himself peeking out the window at the balcony. ‘This brings back great memories;’ beaming the former winger who has celebrated on the balcony on a couple of occasions, including after winning the Eredivisie title with Feyenoord in 1993.
‘Just driving past here gets me thinking about it,’ said Taument, who guided the D1 team to the title as coach this year. ‘I hope my boys will get to experience standing on the balcony some day. It is a really wonderful gesture having us here and an honour to be lauded in this way. Developing youth players is the priority at Feyenoord Academy, but winning trophies is also part of it. It was a great year for us in which we won the championship with good, attractive football.’
The special gathering at City Hall concluded with a group photo, before the coach ride back to Varkenoord.
A1 captain Rick Dekker, who held aloft the Nike Cup last month, has now completed his time at the academy and has signed a contract with PEC Zwolle. ‘So I’m stood here with mixed emotions. I’d obviously have loved to stay at Feyenoord, but I’ve got over it now. I look back on a terrific year in which I’ve learned a lot, we won the Nike Cup and the Super Cup and I was able to train with the first-team squad in Marbella. As a youth player you dream of doing that. A new challenge is starting for me in Zwolle I’m looking forward to. It really means a lot to me to wrap up a great time at Feyenoord like this, with a trophy and a ceremony at such a special location.’