How A Soccer Star is Made – NY Times

I wanted to share an article about Ajax’s youth academy (one of the, if not best academy for producing top soccer talent) featured in the New York Times awhile ago.  It has a great message to parents regarding whether their children should be specializing in a sport at such a young age. Passion, a love for play, and fun is what should be emphasized more than winning or losing at that stage of development.



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2 replies

  1. My name is Ronald de Jong, talentscout for AFC Ajax Amsterdam Youth Academy.
    I was interviewed by Michael Sokolove in 2010 for the article in NYT magazine.
    Recently the European Clubs Association brought out à report onYouth academies through out Europe. (, Report om Youth academies)
    One of the academies that had been assessed is the AFC Ajax Amsterdam Youth Academy.
    The vision about how to spot and how to recognize talent are translated in à mission statement.
    The main goal in that statement is that young soccer players (age 5 to 8) are enjoying the game and that results are not important at that stage.
    It is good to see that more Youth Academies throughout Europe and the rest of the world are interested in the Ajax approach.
    Best regards,

    • Ronald,
      Thank you for sending the message. It is so difficult sometimes to convince parents that sport specialization at a young age is setting their child up for failures later in their career (most of the time). Kids are forgetting the importance of JUST go out and play and enjoy the game they are participating in.


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