AZ talent fulfilling potential
Under the tall trees of AZís Youth Training Centre at Ďt Lood, dozens of budding, young AZ players work hard every day to cement their futures at the club. Over the last few years, AZís academy has been instrumental in smoothing the path to success for its youngsters and has earned an excellent reputation as an accessible and professional training institute.
AZís youth train twice a day, receive specific individual coaching and supervision during training sessions and attend a study programme where every player regardless of ability can obtain a diploma. The club also offers a transport scheme for youngsters so access to the centre is not a problem. The complex at Ďt Lood offers alot more and this is what AZís scholars can expect at a professional youth academy.
The site on the Loodpolderweg has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years and is currently being managed by Aloys Wijnker and his staff who work under the guidance of Director of Football, Earnest Stewart. The coaches and staff at the academy buy into the clubís culture - some of which have played in the red and white shirt - so they understand the importance of promoting and developing AZís proud style of football.
Itís no surprise that the academy has already borne fruit having nurtured Kolbeinn Sigthůrsson (AZ first team, now Ajax), Jeremain Lens (AZ first team, now PSV) and Haris Medunjanin (AZ first team, now Gaziantepspor, Turkey) to play at the highest level. One of the academyís biggest success stories is undoubtedly that of Ron Vlaar. The centre-back developed rapidly at the centre and soon earned his starting place in the AZ team. He went on to make his under-21 debut for the Netherlands, joined Feyenoord and is now in England with Aston Villa with several caps for the Dutch national team under his belt.
Although AZís Youth Training Centre sits in the shadow of the modern AFAS Stadium, alot of work goes on behind the scenes and further work to upgrade the academy is underway. A completely renovated accommodation complex will emerge on a new site which will include new changing rooms, medical facilities, a fitness equipment room and study rooms.