Wiljan Vloet - Logo

woensdag 21 oktober 2015

BULLSHIT!!

Past Wednesday the 7th of October the general meeting of the Coaches of Paid Soccer, called the CBV in Dutch. As always, I signed up in advance. I believe that when you’re a member of an organization, you should be an active member. That means at least being present at the annual general meeting, but if I’m truly honest I also think that it means showing your involvement wherever the CBV needs you. Unfortunately, I had to cancel in the morning because I was invited to meet a foreign club in the afternoon.
I regretted that I could not attend. Aside from the responsibility that I take on as a member, it's always good and fun to see and speak to my colleagues again. I also find it very informative.

The day after the general meeting I read on the Internet and in the newspaper the first responses to the CBV meeting. The headline stated: “Coaches in Zeist want a Technical Director”. My first thought was: “Here we go again!” Many soccer trainers will copy this opinion and everyone will be saying: “Yes, that is very much needed in Zeist!”
This was the exact way it went after the symposium about the future of Dutch soccer in December. Everyone agreed: “We need to change it all”, “Talents need to be trained and educated differently”, “Paid soccer training programs should ask more from young talents”, “We need to demand that our young professionals have a proper mental determination”, “The Royal Dutch Football Association must take the lead in treating the talents differently”.  One person says something and the media exploits this. A statement is taken. Everyone nods and copies this without even knowing what it is about or looking at the background. This is what I call: copycats.

And what happened last time after making a statement like this? That is quite interesting: absolutely nothing!! When the national team under 19 had the European Championships in Greece, our Dutch top clubs forbid their talents to participate. They thought it was more important for these talents to stay in Holland and to experience the preparation of the season by playing against all sorts of amateur clubs instead of playing a tournament. Even though this tournament was huge, and a place that offers talents 90 minutes to show the world what they have learned. And by doing this develop themselves. Our talents stayed at home.

I believe that talent development is the core business of a club. They work with the Dutch talents on a daily basis and they need to ensure that these talents are developing to reach the top. This is not the role of the Royal Dutch Football Association (RDFA) where players have a maximum of 6 activities per year. The RDFA does have other responsibilities that, in my opinion, should be taken a closer look at.
On Thursday I followed the news messages about the CVB meeting and the shared view of both the press and the entire Dutch soccer world on how badly a Technical Director is needed at the RDFA. I completely disagree with this stand. I even find it bullshit.  There doesn’t have to be a Technical Director at the RDFA. People did not take the chance at the CBV meeting to take a good look at what really needs to be changed. The members looked through the eyes of a club. That is where a Technical Director is necessary! But not at the RDFA. They should have looked at the content and whether or not the right people are in the right place instead of the structure of the organization, which is in my view fine.
A Technical Director (TD) at a club is busy with many things at the same time. It is a function that has a lot of influence and is determinative on a technical level. One of the most important work areas is the procurement and sales policy, linked to the scouting policy. The TD consults with the Head Trainer, staff and scouting team about the selection and how it has to perform. Who is being sold? Which contract is being prolonged? Who are we going to purchase? A TD gets to work with this “wish list”. Of course he also discusses with the coach of the first team, but the Head Trainer is making the decisions on the weekly positions. The TD also discusses with the Head Youth on the subject of youth talents and the policy that needs to be pursued.

But most of the time a TD is busy with purchasing and selling the A-selection. If this is done successfully and the first team of the club succeeds, then he is the best TD of Holland. If not, he has failed. That is what a TD is judged on. A good example for this is Marcel Brands. PVS became champion. Marcel purchased the top in August 2014 and sold excellently in July 2015. He is seen as the best TD of Holland. While a few years back people weren’t sure if Marcel would be suitable as a TD for such a real top club. But because PSV became champion under the supervision of Cocu, this forms the basis for the judgement of Marcels work.

The most important aspect of a TD at a club is something that is not being done at the RDFA. There are no players being purchased or sold. And for the other work fields, that normally fall under the function of a TD the RDFA has Jelle Goes as Technical Manager. The Technical Manager is partly responsible for the technical policy of the RDFA. And that part of business isn’t going great! Naturally, everyone should wonder if Jelle is the right man for the job. I myself do that and question his functioning. Functioning is up for discussion instead of the question if there should be a Technical Director or not.

So I would have loved to see my colleagues talk extensively about the methods and content of this existing role or the total policy of the RDFA. That certain things are going wrong here is not a question.
The RDFA is responsible for the trainings level of the Dutch trainers and we should take a critical look. Does this training meet the contemporary demands that the work field askes from the trainer/coach? Does the RDFA dare to hold on to their training vision? Even if ex-top players have different ideas about the training? Is the training for coach paid soccer given with the right content and with the right teachers?
Another critical point that forms the common thread in the appointment

How about the appointment of the coach of the national team and his staff? Did the RDFA do this correctly? Should there have been a different composition? Was it the coach that was determinative or did the RDFA have a say in this? The constraints within which a coach must function simply has to be determined by the RDFA and needs to be recognizable as such.
Besides that the RDFA needs to be addressed on the way the Jupiler league was shaped. A lot is going on there. A few years ago they wanted to create central trainings institutions for the youngest youth. Because of this many good training programs at paid soccer organizations have disappeared. Unfortunately, this installation of centralized training programs has shown not to be successful. But the disappeared training programs do not just return. Another point of discussion is the competition of the second teams. This hardly means anything anymore due to the exit of several important top clubs.

The RDFA needs to get to work to make sure that the BVO’s have a national interest, so it will never happen again that our top talents cancel on Toulon or a European Championship in Greece. Clubs and trainers also need to look critically at their own role and the role of the RDFA. To turn around the decline of the performance of the Dutch soccer and to make sure that Dutch soccer maintains the leading position in the soccer world, is the appointment of a TD at the RDFA too easy. The RDFA does not need a TD. The RDFA needs professionals who can critically review its methods and processes, who have a clear vision and who can maintain this vision under pressure. This role needs to be taken on by the clubs and the CBV members. Thought trough and with action. In a positive and critical collaboration between all these actors lays the solution.







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