Visiting Chivas USA Academy

Visiting CD Chivas USA Academy

Chivas USA’s Youth Development Academy welcomed internationally renowned instructor and Coach Frans Hoek, Wednesday, as an invited guest to work for a day with Red-and-White coaches and youngsters. The Dutchman and former goalkeeper has coached at global soccer powers such as Ajax, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona among other significant stops in his career as a youth coach.

As a current coach for the Dutch National Team, Hoek is a highly-sought instructor and his “Hoek Method” has earned him international praise. Chivas USA Youth Academy Director Sacha van der Most, who was instrumental in the creation of the Red-and-White academy, has known his fellow countryman since the mid-90’s, and arranged Wednesday’s clinic. Hoek mentioned that the session was not so much a case of instruction, but rather a discussion of soccer philosophies and strategies.

“It’s always about sharing ideas and experiences,” Hoek said as he looked upon Chivas’ youngsters at their academy facilities in Bell Gardens. “I was very fortunate in my life that I was coaching at high levels with different clubs – Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the national team in Holland now. You meet a lot of people, coaches that have a lot of interesting [ideas] and I think it’s our duty to share these things with other coaches because I am in the place where I am because coaches shared their knowledge with me.”

The interest in Hoek’s knowledge has allowed him to travel regularly to the U.S. over the last five years and in that span he has seen first-hand the growth of the “beautiful game” in the States.

“I think that the last five years there has been an enormous improvement. They really talk about the game now [in the U.S.], they practice the game and they really coach the game. So I’m not surprised of how it is, it’s only a question of how it can be, especially in this area where you have excellent soccer players.”

For Van der Most and the rest of the Academy coaches, having someone of Hoek’s experience and knowledge as an invited guest to be able to interact with and exchange methodologies was a unique and special opportunity.

“For us it’s a humbling experience,” said Van der Most. “He tries to make you aware and to think about things in a different manner. Frans has been at the top level for a long time. Besides coaching at the top level he is also a very well-known educator. Everyone was very excited and energetic to have him here for the session.”

As one of the Red-and-White organization’s stellar areas, the Academy has produced some of the top teams at the youth level as well as several players who have ascended to the First Team.  Moreover, there have been countless young Goats called in to participate with the U.S. Youth National Teams. As Hoek looked on as the Chivas U-14 squad warmed up, he said that it is always a satisfying feeling to lend his insight and knowledge.

“I think it’s a duty for people that have been at the top level and who still are to give something back to the game,” Hoek added. “I do that also in Europe. I have had many invitations to give lectures and demos. I love the U.S. and love especially this part of the U.S., it reminds me of Spain where I have worked and it is similar. So it’s wonderful to share it. Whatever they do with it is their responsibility.  I hope they use it and I hope they use it to make themselves better and especially to make the players better. I hope it will be beneficial for everyone involved.”

Source: CD Chivas USA Academy