The Dutch aren’t lauded as the masters of Total Football for no reason.
From grassroots development up to the national side, many regard Holland’s football culture as the blueprint for a thriving domestic game. Last weekend, Jim Erwin u17 Coach at Hamilton Academicals Women’s Football Club headed across the North Sea for an eight-day study trip to experience some of the country’s top football academies in Enschede, Holland.
The programme was run by the Scottish FA, funded by the Leonardo da Vinci European Exchange Programme. Jim was part of an 11-strong party from Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and Ayrshire.
Jim said: “I’m delighted to represent girls’ and women’s football, this was an excellent opportunity to observe and analyse what makes football in Holland the envy of many. Hopefully, this will stimulate thoughts, ideas and concepts that we can adopt in our domestic game. I experienced Dutch football culture first hand I believe I have achieved my objective to bring back knowledge and experience that will benefit the development of football at Hamilton."
"Over eight days, we observed and analysed the running of a successful Eredivisie club, FC Twente, managed by former Middlesbrough and England boss Steve McClaren. We attended coaching sessions of Twente’s first, reserve, youth and girls teams, visited grassroots community clubs, and worked with Eredivisie club Heracles Almelo."
"I had a fantastic learning experience as well as attending three matches as FC Twente faced Heerenveen and title rivals Ajax. It was such a valuable trip and it was great to explore the relationship between the youth sides and the first teams. It was very interesting to explore the levels of time, effort and finance that local government and community invests in facilities in Holland. It was particularly interesting to note how the Dutch develop their young boy’s and girl’s football from grassroots level by close links with boys clubs and boys leagues. As in Scotland, girl’s football is thriving in Holland. The beautiful game in the Netherlands is revered across the globe."