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Jan 15, 2024

RFYC is committed to the overall development of the players under its care. The Academy recognizes the reality that not every child who comes through its doors will make it as a professional football player.

Keeping that in mind, the Academy is focused on the education of every child under its care. And while all scholars might not become professional football players, the sport itself offers various avenues of employment to those who have a passion for it.

Accordingly, this season, RFYC has instituted a foundational coach development program, where some of the older boys (U-17 and U-19) were invited to participate in an additional course, which introduced them to the basics of being a coach.

Created, curated, and delivered by Head of Coach Education Mark Vaessen, the 4-and-a-half-month-long course was aimed at giving the young champs a glimpse into the role and requirements of a coach at the grassroots level.

“The boys are every year, 1000 hours on the pitch, and we wondered; can we use that more? We had a group of 14 boys. The course was a mix between, AFC, KNVB (Netherlands) and UEFA C license courses. We made a beginner’s course, but in the end, it was more advanced than I thought!” said Mark Vaessen.

The first part of the course involved familiarizing the players with the role of a coach in a team. We often think players, having played the game, will naturally translate those abilities and experiences into coaching abilities. The truth, however, is slightly different.

Being a coach requires the ability of think about the game very differently than one does while playing. While a player would be focused on doing his best on the pitch, a coach’s focus is on getting the best out of, and developing all the players under his care as well as the team.  

While a player learns skills throughout his career, it is very different from being able to educate others on those same skills.

“The other thing that is important is, helping them understand the movements of children vs. adults. A child, even at 16/17 moves very differently from an adult, so it’s important for them to understand.”

As the aspiring coaches went through the course, even Mark was pleasantly surprised “I must say, when I saw the group, I was surprised by some of the kids. Some of them are usually quiet on the pitch, or not someone you would think of as leaders, but towards the end of the course, you could see that these boys really have the passion for the game.”

“We started with a basic course, but we added a lot of mental aspects into the game. The course was divided into 18 theory sessions and 22 practical sessions, where the aspiring coaches put their learnings into real-world situations.”

To gauge their development, Mark also conducted tests, both theoretical and practical after covering each topic of learning. All coaches passed the exams by the end of the course.

This course, helpful as it is, is only the beginning. Coach Mark believes that continuous development is the key to growth.

“Now you must keep doing it. Build on it. I hope the players next year, if they are 18, go on to do the D License”


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