For the third year in a row the Sigma -Ajax of Amsterdam Academy Coaches Training Camp, held over two separate weeks in July 2007 was a large success. Well over 130 players, all mainly from the Sigma ETC Program but also some new talents looking to impress took to the fields at the Iceland complex to train under the AFC Ajax and Sigma coaches during the first week of camp. One special participant who didn't have to impress but surely did with his presence was Dylan Nieuwenhuijs who came all the way from Amsterdam and the AJAX club to take part this year. The positive experience of his participation not only for his own benefit but also that of his camp mates surely makes his return in 2008 a definite.
During the first week of camp the Senior Sigma ETC group had the opportunity to train under the direction of Wim Kwakman of AFC Ajax and Juan Barreto of Sigma. The boys were put through a week of intense tactical training to increase their thought insight and decision making skills on the field. According to AFC Ajax U-16 trainer Wim Kwakman, "This camp was a great success from all aspects. This was my third year in a row and our friends at Sigma have done a great job of consistently scouting the talented players of the area. I have seen progress in many of the boys and am happy to hear that a few of them will have the opportunity to play in Europe in the near future".
On the upper field of the Iceland complex players were provided the opportunity to train with two of AFC Ajax's specialists. AFC Ajax and former Dutch international Simon Tahamata provided his technical expertise to players, much as he does back at the De Toekomst complex in Amsterdam. The former winger known to be one of the greatest technical players to ever play with Ajax instructed players daily on the various secrets of mastering ball handling. On another part of the field Renaldo Landberg provided players an education on coordination and proper running technique. As the coordination and motor skill trainer of all AFC Ajax youth teams (U9 - U19) he was able to provide players the skill sets and running style required of a soccer player.
The second week of camp took on a club team focus, as 7 local teams were selected to participate. Most were groups that participate in the Sigma Team Training Program throughout the year, so the opportunity to work under the AJAX Camp program was a natural extension of the quality work conducted already. Camp Directors Patrick Ladru and Bobby Smyrniotis lead the groups while also providing technical details to participating club coaches who watched their squads from the stands. "The quality and work ethic of the participants once again did not disappoint this year. I am even happier to see that girls of a very good level have now joined our Sigma program and camps
Bobby Smyrniotis (Technical Director Sigma) was pleased with the work of the staff and players, "I am happy to see that so many players are enthusiastic about learning in the environment our (Sigma) group has provided. Our staff has worked very hard and continues to do so in our effort to make a small difference in the sport of soccer locally. With the increase in private soccer organizations, including the re-emergence of professional soccer clubs, I believe each group has the opportunity to make a difference and provide a better future for Canadian soccer. Our initiative is provide a program of education for players who require a challenging environment to excel. At this point I can say we are 3/4 of the way there with many of our age groups fielding most of the top talents of our region. In the end we would like for all our players to combine their athletic ability with their emphasis on education to maximize their future opportunities both within and outside of this sport. It was a great summer of camps and I look forward to the beginning of the new year of the ETC Program and working with many of the talents who will be invited back."
For more information on the: