World Football Academy USA’s Verheijen is Different & Better
Headquartered in the Netherlands, with world-renowned coach Raymond Verheijen serving as CEO, the WFA services over 2,000 football specialists in more than 20 countries per year. This year, Verheijen spoke at the United Soccer Coaches Convention.
Youth Soccer News: The World Football Academy USA is one of the world’s leading independent education institutes for coaches, staff, and players but in a sea of educational programs for coaches with what seems like an endless wave of options, this program is distinctly different.
What makes it different is not just the material but the presenter.
Raymond Verheijen is unique.
Not afraid to offend, Raymond Verheijen is outspoken, brash, honest and ultimately profoundly great.
One can not fall asleep in one of Raymond Verheijen sessions. It would literally not be possible with the interactive nature of the program, and it would be tantamount to an impeachable offense.
I think Raymond Verheijen might even throw out the coach who drifted off, without apology or a refund.
Why? Because Raymond Verheijen wants to make coaches better. Driven to improve soccer on all levels, Raymond Verheijen wants coaches to be dedicated, devoted and serious about their craft — after all, they are coaching the future of soccer.
Raymond Verheijen does not provide answers, he asks the important questions.
What does Raymond Verheijen want? As he assesses the soccer landscape in America, what he wants is actually simple in its complexity.
Verheijen wants to change the subjectivity that exists in soccer.
Verheijen wants well-played soccer to be the preeminent sport in America and puts the blame squarely on coaches for holding the country back.
Raymond Verheijen is not your average speaker — he is not a lecturer who repeats the same empty phrases once thought to be inspiring. He is a provocateur. As a speaker at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago earlier this year, Raymond Verheijen presented in a session with standing room only.
“No one knows the soccer situation in the USA like USA coaches,” says Verheijen. “And, overall, they need to be better.” Besides just citing coaches for not doing their job, he offers a solution.
Verheijen is inspiring. His mission is to make people think and question their assumptions.
Miriam Hickey, U.S. Soccer’s Director of the Girls’ Development Academy who oversees the technical aspects of our future soccer stars attended Verheijen’s session at the 2019 Convention and was obviously a fan.
The goal is to make coaches think. And this is good.
Why do coaches have so many preconceptions, and fail to recognize so many of them? This is just one of the many topics Verheijen calls into question as he provokes deep thought and hopefully a wake-up call on many of the steadfast beliefs held in youth soccer.
Yes, his questions can be annoying, but usually because they are embarrassing.
In an earlier session in San Diego, California, Verheijen asked the coaches attending his session if they were good coaches? What makes them good? And if they were using cones and mindless drills in youth soccer practice sessions, he followed up and asked,
“How far do I allow the bar to drop before I go work in a supermarket?”
A vibrant instructor — and, a man who holds himself apart from the fray, Raymond Verheijen invites everyone to join him and raise the bar.
What does it mean to be a youth soccer coach? Verheijen asks this in a packed lecture room. “What does that responsibility mean?”
“We can expect better.”
“You can be part of the solution or the problem when it comes to developing local players,” Kraig Chiles, Cardiff FC Mustangs and the longtime Captain of the San Diego Sockers told us. “Raymond has a ton of experience and I found his course very interesting and educational. It is not like other coaching sessions I have attended.”
“I’ve taken three of his courses, including an intense week in Amsterdam, and Raymond’s relentless pursuit of professionalism and high-standards resonates with me,” said Yalla San Diego’s Ryan Shera. “This pursuit is sorely lacking in the football industry and something I haven’t experienced professionally since I was a law clerk for a federal judge.”
If the soccer player thinks he cannot do it — Make him think that he can.
Verheijen wants everyone in the sport to stop complaining and to do their job. He encourages coaches to get their players to think quickly, and to do their thinking in the present.
Verheijen said coaches often complain, “My players are not mentally tough.’
“No, you have a thinking problem,” said Verheijen … and this is a problem he challenges his listeners to fix.
Verheijen believes one of the ongoing issues in youth soccer is that youth soccer coaches do not give clear, concise and specific instructions to their players.
“Youth soccer players should never have to wonder or guess what a coach wants — if they know what you want they will perform better,” said Verheijen. “Instead of explaining — players need to experience what is needed.”
“If you are a shit coach, okay bring on the cones,” said Verheijen.
“If you have reached your top limit, then your players have reached a glass ceiling,” said Verheijen to the amusement of his audience and the bewilderment of some. He maintains that bad coaches rob players’ of their potential.
“Consciously incompetent – before you were unconsciously incompetent,” Verheijen explained to those attending a session.
“I’m here to help your players – like mother Theresa.”
A few years ago, I walked into a session in California to take a few pictures and was spellbound. When I recently attended Verheijen’s program at the United Soccer Coaches Convention, I realized that while he may be intolerant of others who he considers doing a poor job educating coaches, isn’t it good someone believes that raising the bar needs to serve the game?
This is one coach’s coach not to miss.
What is Verheijen Track Record?
Since 1998 coach Verheijen has been involved in every FIFA World Cup and EURO reaching 5 semi-finals and a final. Also, in 2009 Verheijen worked with the Dutch National Women’s Team in their first ever EURO reaching the semi-final.
At club level, Verheijen has worked with European giants like Barcelona (Champions League 2006), Zenit St Petersburg (UEFA Cup 2008), Chelsea (FA Cup 2009) Manchester City and Glasgow Rangers.
In 2011, Verheijen became an assistant manager with a Wales side that became the most improved nation in the history of the FIFA World Rankings.
In Brazil 2014 he consulted Argentina on reaching their first FIFA World Cup Final in 24 years.
His World Football Academy is the world’s leading independent education institute for coaches, staff members and practitioners with departments and events on all the continents. As a major knowledge provider to several FA’s and clubs around the world, the WFA is a prime contractor for thousands of football specialists.
Photo Credit: Diane Scavuzzo