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Ajax Soccer School

youth2I came across a very interesting article about the world famous Ajax (Amsterdam) academy. Ajax pioneered soccer academies but  it hasn’t been very successful in turning out world class players in the last 20 years. So they revamped it.

The academy currently houses 219 youngsters, age 8-19. It is a combined soccer academy and school where the educational curriculum is coordinated with soccer practice schedules. 40 coaches (average of 5 players/coach) are training the kids on 10 fields, one covered with an inflatable dome.

What is new?

The most striking innovation is that teams don’t have an assigned coach. Coaches rotate through teams and in U17-U19 groups of players are mentored by a soccer, an athletics, and an educational expert. Under the stewardship of legend Johan Cruyff the academy has developed a “secret recipe” for success, based on eight ingredients. Some of these were revealed in the article:

  1. Creating and executing many 1v1 situations
  2. Third man playing (not just running) where triangle passing and coverage in case of loss of possession are key
  3. Attacking with three forwards (4-3-3 base formation)
  4. Creating space on the wings

These seem like nothing new but in combination and not knowing principles 5-8, it can be powerful if trained across all age groups. In addition, the school emphasizes:

  1. Balance of technical, tactical, fitness, and mental training.
  2. Special fitness facilities (power hill with and without steps)
  3. Software (apps) to track every player’s performance
  4. Small sided games (two games of 6v6 vs one game of 11 v 11)
  5. Touches on the ball (players must dribble ball from parking lot or school to practice field)

Our Practice Books

If you read our book description and philosophy behind the practice plans and drills you will find a lot of similarity to the Ajax philosophy. That is because we did our research and included the most modern and best practices from leading soccer nations to develop our practices.

Coach Tom


3 thoughts on “Ajax Soccer School

  1. Great stuff

  2. Dear Coach,
    Good Day,

    We are indian national based in Dubai for last 10 years.
    My son undergoes football training locally here and plays for his school and a parent led club for u-10 age category.
    What are the chances and procedures to join Ajax Soccer School,
    Will await for your feedback/guidance
    Kind regards

    1. Good Day,

      the Ajax soccer school is run by the Ajax soccer club in Amsterdam, Holland. You would have to be a member of the club to join. I am not aware of any personal soccer development programs in your country. The only thing I can suggest is to see if any Indian football club has an academy program. I can recommend our Youth soccer practice book for your team as it is based on FIFA training principles.

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