Our future Champions1 January 2012
Vurnon Anita, Gregory van der Wiel, and Jetro Willems: four boys with Antillean roots were among the final 27 players in the pre-selection of Oranje. Hedwiges Maduro also joined the training session but did not join the training camp in Lausanne. The Young Oranje selection includes Leroy Fer and Leandro Bacuna. Not bad for such a small island. And Curaçao Soccer Academy that started last February, will undoubtedly increase the number of Curaçao representatives.
Curaçao Soccer Academy is a cooperation between the Curaçao soccer association FFK and Fundashon Bon Intenshon. Fundashon Bon Intenshon had previously been involved with the Curaçao soccer development when the foundation sponsored the Nijmegen premier league club NEC in 2008/2009. In return the six best Curaçao youth soccer players had been admitted to the youth training of NEC. The best known of these boys is Shannon Carmelia who regularly plays in the Curaçao national selection. Unfortunately, the Curaçao boys just barely missed the connection to the Dutch premier league level.
“This has everything to do with the local situation”, says Hans van Elden, director of Curaçao Soccer Academy. “Curaçao is a small island, there is no professional competition and less means as in bigger countries. There was not yet a structural approach for talent development”.
Curacao Soccer Academy intends to prepare youth talents to a possible career as top athlete with a well-balanced program. “At the moment we are working with the selection teams Under-11 and Under-13,” Van Elden says. “Four times a week the boys train at the Academy and in the weekend they play with their own clubs in the competition. In addition to soccer training, Curaçao Soccer Academy will pay extra attention to social education and homework classes. Talent is just one aspect, but character, discipline, and endurance are equally important.”
In order to assess the level of the soccer teams of the Academy they will participate in international tournaments. In March, the Under-13 already participated in an international tournament in Aruba after only six weeks of training. “There only the home team, the Aruba selection team, beat us,” Van Elden muses. “We won quite easily from the Venezuelan and Colombian teams. So I see enough opportunities for these teams.”
Will there be any CSA pupils in the Dutch European Championship selection in 2020? Hans van Elden smiles. “I can’t predict whether they will be playing in the Oranje team. But if the boys continue to develop well they will certainly be candidates for the Curaçao national selection. Hopefully some of them will succeed in building a professional career in soccer. In any case, they will be ambassadors for the island, and we will be very proud of them.”
Do you want to know more about Curaçao Soccer Academy teams? End of June the U-11 will play at home in a tournament with participating teams from Bonaire, Aruba, Suriname, and Curaçao. Come and have a look in the FFK stadium in Brievengat!
During training sessions of Curaçao Soccer Academy we briefly interviewed a couple of players of the Under-13 team. Jesuel Lanoy, Rogyair Michiel, and Georgino Ascencion.
Are you guys following the Dutch selection?
The boys look at me somewhat shy. “We are going to watch, for sure, when the Netherlands is playing,” Rogyair says. “And Spain!” beams Jesuel. “And Italy, England, and of course Germany,” Georgino adds.
There are some Antillean players in the preliminary selection, do you know who they are?
“Vurnon Anita, and he is my uncle!” Rogyair exclaims. “And Gregory van der Wiel,” Jesuel knows. Jetro Willems? They have not heard of the 18 year old Willems.
Are these boys your role models?
“My uncle is indeed my role model,” says Rogyair. “I do resemble him actually, as a player. I play in the same position as Vurnon.” “My role models are actually Snijders and Robben,” Georgino confesses. Jesual smiles. “Ronaldinho, at least as he used to be.” “Right, not like he is these days,” Georgino chuckles.
Playing in the Oranje team, is that what you dream of?
“Yes! That would be great,” Jesuel says. “I think that is possible.” Rogyair is self confident: “I think I could make the Oranje team.” Georgino shrugs. “I’m not sure, we’ll see.”
Final question: who will be the European champion?
“Perhaps the Netherlands, or Spain,” Rogyair thinks. “Or Italy,” Jesuel guesses. “Don’t forget Germany,” Georgino warns.
And off they go, playing another game. The fun these boys have in playing soccer is enormous. At Curaçao Soccer Academy they are given the opportunity to develop their talent as best as possible. Who knows where we will see them play in 2020.