For the second summer in a row the famed AJAX Youth Academy set-up a mini academy in the GTA for local soccer talent. Two weeks of fantastic weather, training grounds and instruction from a team of 10 coaches representing AFC AJAX and Sigma Sports Solutions Player Development Division provided a great atmosphere of learning and development. Players from all regions of Southern Ontario and as far away as Calgary took part in the week long camps which focused on teaching the participants the methods of training instilled on a daily basis at the Toekomst training center of AJAX in Amsterdam.

The coaches who traveled to Toronto from Amsterdam, many for a second year running were excited to see friendly faces from the previous year and those who had subsequently traveled to Amsterdam during the year. In addition there were the much eager first time participants, who together with the whole group put forth a great effort in order to gain an insightful look into the total soccer education which accompanies this leading European Youth Academy.

The participants took part in two training sessions per day along with daily theory sessions and coordination training components. This thorough educational process was key to affording the participants the ability to view the sport from an enjoyable and educational aspect. Training focused on aspects of individual skill, position play in small areas to tactical awareness in large field settings. During the 2 hour break the players in their respective age groups were provided with theory sessions which focused on topics such as proper training techniques, nutrition, conditioning, weight training, tactics, European youth academy structure and the athletic scholarship process.

Once again the desire to succeed and constant work ethic of the participants was instrumental in impressing the Ajax Youth Coaches who were thoroughly satisfied with the players efforts and above all their ability to play the game. As AFC AJAX Technical Director Patrick Ladru explains,

"The soccer players of Canada seem to have a winning spirit which gives the determination to compete and train under any condition. The important issue is that the players use this ability to train under a proper environment with quality coaching to maximize their development in the sport".

Coach Wim Kwkman and Wilco van Buuren responsible for the oldest age groups both came to a common conclusion. The participants of the camp demonstrated a great desire to learn and compete. The technical aspects of the players was at a very good level with some participants catching their eye for future European possibilities. The area which the boys must improve is their tactical knowledge of the game which deals with positioning, transition, insight and awareness.

Simon Tahamata along with Peter van der Hengst responsible for the youngest age groups believe that the future of soccer lies within these groups as they can be assisted to learn and develop over the next four years under a proper training atmosphere to reach a technical level equal to the Europeans by the age of 13-14. Simon Tahamata states, "There are children here who have great technical abilities who under the proper education in soccer can have a future in the sport".

The people of AJAX came and shared their knowledge to a select number of participants from the GTA and were convinced that Canadian players have the abilities if educated properly by dedicated coaches to reach the high standards needed to succeed in Europe and above all at AFC AJAX of Amsterdam.

For more information on the AFC AJAX of Amsterdam Academy Soccer Camp click here.