But that is to not say it has not been tailor-made, altered, fine-tuned over time. That course of started in 2011, when Cruyff returned to a membership that — in van der Sar’s phrases — “did not feel like Ajax anymore.” Cruyff and the cadre of former avid gamers he launched with him wanted not solely to revive the give consideration to youth enchancment, to shed extraordinarily paid, getting outdated avid gamers, nevertheless to range the best way by which Ajax labored.
“We focus always on the individual,” Ouaali acknowledged. “We don’t think about age groups, like the Dutch federation or like other clubs. It can be hard for coaches because they want results as well — to be successful, to be promoted to the next step up — but we try to find coaches who focus on the development of players, who learn the individual, not the team.”
The membership acknowledged, too, that it wanted to work faster than sooner than. Players have been not staying throughout the Eredivisie until they’ve been 23 or 24; they’ve been leaving at 20 or 21, if not earlier. “At 19, they needed to be ready to play in the first team,” ten Hag acknowledged, “because at 20, they are gone.”
That meant further bodily work at youthful ages, and an end to avid gamers going to highschool outside Ajax. Now, they study at De Toekomst, to permit them to maximise the hours they spend throughout the classroom and on the teaching topic.
Ajax borrowed methods current in Montessori education to mix age groups, and its under-18 workforce was abolished to “increase pressure on the talent,” Ouaali acknowledged.
The membership’s second workforce, Jong Ajax — which performs in Dutch soccer’s second tier — not may very well be full of senior avid gamers; now, most of its members are nonetheless of their teenage years. “We had to speed up the process,” ten Hag acknowledged. “They had to be good quicker.”
All of it was a correct acknowledgment of Ajax’s place throughout the 21st century soccer firmament. It is telling, as an example, that Ouaali sees his job, and that of De Toekomst, not as to provide avid gamers for the first workforce, nevertheless to provide them for “Ajax, then the Dutch national team, then the top international level.”