Monday, August 20, 2012

Soccer in Holland

E-man and the boys have been playing soccer nonstop since arriving in Holland. On Friday, the boys got their first taste of professional soccer in The Netherlands.

For those of you that don't know, The Netherlands is known for providing the best technical training in the world.  They are very disciplined, precise, and tactical in their preparations.  We in the US are overly concerned with speed, strength, and size.  We treat soccer like we treat basketball, baseball and (American) football.  The Dutch however, know that soccer is more like chess than like other sports.  And they train on technique and strategy.

So on Friday the boys traveled to Leeuwarden for their first match.  They played SC Cambuur...and they played what we consider to be U13's.  The Dutch call them D2's.  Basically it means they're the 11 and 12 year olds playing in the professional club.  Our boys were 9 and 10.  Needless to say we were completely over matched...and the 0-15 score (It was probably more than 15 but I stopped counting) demonstrated that fact.  The Cambuur boys dominated.

We learned our lessons that day...whatever lessons we could glean from such a butt-kicking...and went on to Hoorn for the Hollandia International Youth Tournament.  These boys were also 12 and 13...but only a few were professional clubs - others were top level amateur clubs.

The boys started the day losing 1-5 and 0-5.  Then something awesome happened...they were leading the 3rd game 1-0 at the half...but ended up losing 1-2.  They had their confidence however.  The next game was fantastic!!  They won 3-2 on a last minute corner kick from E-man to his buddy Teddy.  It was a beautiful play and I hope to have video to post at some point.

The final game was tough.  They were losing 0-2 at the half...but after watching our boys fight their way back playing inspired football...we tied them 2-2 and finished the day on that high note!  Because of the point system used in this tournament, our boys finished 7th of 12 teams.  According to one of the best soccer stars in the world (see next paragraph), the boys "really embarrassed a couple teams" that day.  A high compliment from this man.

One of the off-field highlights of the day was looking across the field and seeing Ruud Gullit watching our match!  Again for those of you that don't know Ruud Gullit (pron: "Rood Goo-lit"), he was voted the best soccer player in the world twice in the late 80's.  He's Dutch...and played at AC Milan and Chelsea (among others) and coached at Chelsea, Newcastle, and most recently LA Galaxy.  He's a legend in the soccer world and E-man squared off against his 11 y/o son.  He was nice enough to pose for a picture with the boys after the tournament.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Tour of AJAX Stadium

We've been able to do a little sightseeing on our Soccer Tour.  On Tuesday, the boys got a tour of Ajax Stadium in Amsterdam.  Ajax is one of the top professional clubs in the world.  The stadium was incredible and the boys really enjoyed seeing what is possible if they work hard enough.

We got to go down to the field level...but not onto the field itself.  They had brought in these artificial lights in order to help the grass grow.  The stadium has a retractable roof and as a result, the grass doesn't get quite enough sunlight.

The boys also got their picture taken down there on the field.  Then they were able to go down to the locker rooms, the press conference room, and into the players lounge.  Pretty swank!!

I think E-man had a pretty good time.  The stadium really was amazing.  The 50,000+ seat stadium offers a "visitors section" that is protected by bullet-proof glass, and has nets surrounding it so that items thrown from those seats don't hit the fans down below.  Their rivalries are no joke!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


AUGUST 13TH, 2012
Jet lag…schmet lag!! We slept an hour on the plane and arrived in Amsterdam at 7am local time! Then we were off to the hotel to check in, eat lunch, get in a good run, and then it was time for training at the local club, Voetbalvereniging Schagen – or VV Schagen for short.
E-man had a great first day of training. He put on quite the show. Teamed up against some bigger, stronger (debatable), 12-year-old kids from the local club, E-man did a nice job of creating space and getting his (far too powerful for a 9-year-old) shot off.

The U15′s will play tomorrow and E-Man’s U11′s will continue to train until their first match on Friday. Until then…”Hebben een goede avond!”
You can see more photos and updates from E-Man by going to his Facebook Fan Page at

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Getting Ready for Holland

Eman and Scott leave for Holland a week from Sunday.  I'm hoping Scott will give us regular updates through the blog.  We want to thank everyone who helped make the trip possible!

I'm headed to Holland and you helped make my trip possible so I want to say:
We are traveling from August 12th to August 23rd and will get the opportunity to train with some of the best soccer players in the world. Our coach has been preparing us for our trip.
Thank you for helping me get there!

Quotes from ANNIE:
We have been watching a lot of Olympics.
A: There's a country named Hungary?
M: Yes
A: You know there's also a country called Turkey.
M: Yes
A: Maybe Hungary should eat Turkey
M: There's also a country named Chile.
A: Wow, Hungary could have Turkey and Chile.

Another quote from ANNIE:
A: You should get one of those gold medals for being a mom
M: That's such a nice thing to say.
A: Yea, they should have a mom competition in the Olympics than you could go.
M: Unfortunately if Eman and Abegail had a say I probably wouldn't make the team.