“Soccer is a Very Creative Sport” Vincent van Sas on soccer in the Netherlands
Training in Europe has always been very popular with elite youth soccer players and now there are more options than ever before. One of the largest Dutch soccer companies has recently partnered with Europa Challenge, providing new opportunities to train in the Netherlands.
Vincent van Sas is a lifelong soccer fan. A former player, coach, and highly successful business person, and now CEO, he has developed a unique e-learning course for football trainers which kicked off first in the Dutch market and rapidly expanded to internationally.
With a deep understanding of the needs of beginning soccer coach worldwide as well as professional soccer organizations, van Sas’ company offers comprehensive services directed at growing the game including a unique online toolbox for coaches and teachers who give training to kids, even if they play football for the first time, plus scouting top players and soccer camps.
With the approach that playing soccer should be a lot of fun, van Sas’ philosophy is based upon growing the game through developing passion.
SoccerToday’s Interview with YOURSOCCERSKILLS’ Vincent van Sas on Youth Soccer
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you believe inspires a great player?
Vincent van Sas: First of all, I believe that everyone can become a great player on his own level. In my opinion great means a great progression during the career.
Character and perseverance are key.
But guidance from a good coach is also one of the elements that is an important part of the motivation and inspiration of a great player. In the end, I believe that good coaches will inspire great players
Diane Scavuzzo: What is important in a player development environment?
Vincent van Sas: I think that a coach and staff should realize that …
soccer is a very creative sport.
There is no situation identical to a previous one. 22 players and one ball. It’s always different.
So I believe that learning soccer at a young age, with the ball as the best friend and the room for creative freedom is the best environment for players. Learn to play soccer in a playful way and the fun element makes players feel comfortable and free.
Diane Scavuzzo: If a youth soccer player dreams of becoming a professional player, what is your advice?
Vincent van Sas: Work hard, train with pleasure, play with pleasure, remember the fun element in soccer.
Most soccer players that make it to the top, are getting there because of their hard work.
Of course you have to have talent, but in the end, perseverance and character are 70% of their success.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why is traveling overseas to participate in a soccer program so valuable? What is the soccer culture like in the Netherlands?
Vincent van Sas: Learning different soccer environments is valuable. The Portuguese school is different from the Spanish. So is the English, the German and the Dutch.
The special thing about Holland is our soccer infrastructure.
Everybody starting at 5-years-of age can play soccer at a well facilitated and organized local youth soccer club, usually just around the corner, playing a full competition of 36 weeks organized by under auspices of the KNVB plus training — for only about $100 dollar per year.
Diane Scavuzzo: What should parents of young kids look for in a program for their youth soccer players?
Vincent van Sas: Fun and nice games where exercises are a competition in itself. The exercises should motivate the players and fun is the basis for progress.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your soccer background?
Vincent van Sas: After my active career as a soccer player I was a board member on a technical level of a middle-sized soccer club in the Netherlands.
Together with one of the most talented youth trainers of Sparta Rotterdam and later the KNVB, the Royal Dutch Football Association which is the governing body of football in the Netherlands, I decided to develop a product that was suited for inexperienced youth soccer trainers. This was the basis of Yoursoccerskills.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is Yoursoccerskills?
Vincent van Sas: Yoursoccerskills is a mixture of the vision of Wiel Coerver, Rene Meulensteen and the KNVB. We unite best of both worlds.
An easy to use, online app, Yoursoccerskills, is the perfect tool for coaches to train their kids in a Dutch way. It can be downloaded from the Apple or Google store and costs less than $20 per year.
There is a free trial version available for iPhones
My business background is marketing, media, software and concept development. In 2013, we launched our product in the Netherlands which was received very positively. Today more than 20,000 soccer trainers in the Netherlands and Belgium worked with our program.
In the Netherlands, I have become an authority on youth soccer and I worked with many big football stars like Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten, and Frank Rijkaard.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are you offering in the Netherlands and please describe your perfect player?
Vincent van Sas: In the Netherlands, we offer summer soccer camps in cooperation with Europa Challenge.
We have collaborated with Europa Challenge in scouting and offering of internships for talented players from South America and the USA.
And, we offer a complete training program for amateur clubs for trainers to learn how to train in the vision of ‘Yoursoccerskills’.
In my opinion, there is no perfect player.
I cannot choose between Messi and Ronaldo. They are both the best players of the last decade but so different in style and characteristics.
Maybe, I would describe my perfect player as one who plays with big passion.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the soccer culture like in the Netherlands?
Vincent van Sas: Our deep-rooted soccer culture creates a perfect breeding ground for top talent.
The Netherlands will always excel in educating creative soccer players.
Of course, we have our cycle of success. Sometimes more successful (1974 – 1978 – 1988 – 2004 – 2010 – 2014 – Nations league 2018) and, of course, sometimes less success such as in 2016 – 2018.
But as a small country which is roughly just less than twice the size of the state of New Jersey, and with only 17 million inhabitants, we will always be a special one in soccer.