Aethan Yohannes – Story So Far AT AZ Alkmaar by Daniel his Dad…
You are that less then 1% that has a potential to make it big so while the club teaches you the ropes, it’s up to you to take charge of your destiny because if you don’t seize it, there are a lot of other kids waiting in line to seize it. So clubs will provide all kinds of education possible to ensure kids are developing because they recognise that if groomed right, you have a potential to make the club a lot of money that will keep the resources necessary to continue developing quality footballers in the future.
My son coming out of a local amateur club in Amsterdam,
“To try to get to the highest level in football at the youth level is not easy no matter how talented you may be. It takes a lot of hard work, determination and focus not to mention you are giving up a lot of things your friends might enjoy doing”
As a parent if you have to drive 45min to one hour to take your kids to training during business hours, it causes stress to the family. A family with less to worry about transporting their kids can supplement in helping their kids in other ways at home and less stress to player. So, every day my son is picked up midday from school and dropped off at home. Players have to honour their time of pick up and drop off. It is the responsibility of the player to be on time because the club driver doesn’t wait for you after your grace minutes if u are not ready.
A couple of months back because of the lack of understanding the Dutch language my son misunderstood the training time change that took effect because of a holiday so when the pickup van came to pick him up at 6:20am in the morning, he was sleep. So the van left without him leaving him a message that woke him up. He rushed to wake his mother to take him to his training as I was out of town on a work assignment. He arrived 8min late to his training. His coach had him seat and watch the full training while his teammates train for two hours and was benched the next game against Ajax. Was I happy to learn of this. Hell no. Can I say anything about how harsh of a punishment I thought that was, hell no.
In a pay to play system, there is a feeling you can complain or have some influence in the management of your kids LOL. There is a tough culture here. As a parent, you have to be disciplined and know your place and that is to be a parent and letting the Academy do the teaching. Lesson learned is if you want to get ahead, you better not be late to the party. You have to learn to be Independence and responsible quick or you will learn it the hard way. The system is here to teach you to become not only a footballer but also a man.
After being benched a match against Ajax, believe me he got the message and instead he is at least 15min early for every pickup/ride. One thing for sure is he will never miss his ride to training again. To try to get to the highest level in football at the youth level is not easy no matter how talented you may be. It takes a lot of hard work, determination and focus not to mention you are giving up a lot of things your friends might enjoy doing.
Skills are key but without mental toughness, you are just a number. Discipline is one of the most important things you have to learn in a pro environment, no matter who you are. Periodic Top-sport class outside of training is a mandatory session players have to attend. You learn about mentality, character, discipline, work ethics and what to focus on to get ahead. You learn about what to eat and not to eat, – how much sleep you need and to listen to your body.
So far, he has participated in first class tournaments in Italy, Belgium, England and Germany since the start of the pre-season against top league academies of the respective countries and he has become an integral part of his team.
He has had an amazing experience at the USMNT U15 call up in September 2018 in Chula Vesta, CA. Nothing beats being selected to wear your countries jersey and seeing the excitement of that experience on my son’s face was such a blessing put mildly.
I know the road my son is in is not an easy road to climb. It is a very challenging road. Some kids burnout. Some don’t have the discipline to stay in it for the long haul. It is so important that kids have the right mindset and support system around them to keep focused. It’s a long road ahead for my son as he is turning 15 in a couple of months. God willing the path he started will bear fruit. However, as a father, I am mindful to continue encouraging and keeping him grounded and focused in all he does. School being just as important.
Soon I will share some amazing things that’s happening with my daughter who is 11 & playing as the only girl in the u13 Boys team in the 2nd division league. She is a big talent and will share about the invitation she has received from the Dutch Football Association soon.
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