Grew up on the Leur, never played football myself, but have been fanatically involved in the club’s youth department for about ten years. Abdel Ben Omar sees the future of Unitas’30 rosy. “I think we can reach the third division, we have gold in our hands.”
Gold that he, as head youth selection coordinator, must ensure together with his colleagues. “In theory, we have one coordinator per age category, plus internal scouting. That is my responsibility. In fact, we are a derivative of the football affairs department. If there is something or something going on, I will pick it up.” From guiding to selecting and finding trainers. “Ultimately we want to train players for the first time, that is our goal. We must offer the right opportunities for this, including through communication.”
Ben Omar (48) played the role of coordinator for about five seasons and has been head coordinator since 2018. From that moment on, with Leon de Bruijn as fellow driving force, the ball of a new youth policy started rolling. “We have been working with internal scouts for ten years now. Around January they will come up with a list of players who stood out during matches. If they get three positive reviews, they get on that list. We also ask trainers and leaders to submit an assessment.” Is everything positive at the bottom line? “Then around February or March they will have the opportunity to train periodically with the selection. Because we select from the ‘recreational teams’.” A big challenge, Ben Omar now knows. “Parents are becoming increasingly assertive, so we try to be as clear as possible. In selection teams, we make further selections. We always tell everyone that. To avoid misunderstanding.” The head coordinator, on the other hand, never played football in a selection team, he laughs. “I’m not a football player by nature, and I’ve never been a member that way.” Ben Omar did provide training, he took the trainer’s course and was therefore one of the founders of a new youth policy. “I have been walking around there for 40 years now. Now sometimes five days a week. I trained my brothers from the age of sixteen and later also my son.” But because a parent/son combination is not desired at Unitas’30 from JO11-1 onwards, the volunteer had to do something else. “That became this!”
As a trainer of the future. “We want to play professional football, 4-3-3 and the Dutch school. Training is more than results, but winning naturally provides a boost. That bit of winning mentality also helps with development.” And so youth trainers must also be well prepared. Literally and figuratively. “We try to get trained trainers on our main teams. In addition, our coordinators regularly meet with the trainers. You have to prepare for training, otherwise the structure is lacking.” Yet that is anything but easy, says Ben Omar. “I often tell them: just go onto the field and talk to them. Everyone has limited time these days, which is becoming increasingly difficult.” Time that they at Unitas’30 try to distribute as efficiently as possible. “It has to happen on all lines, that’s what it’s all about. That is why we pay a lot of attention to recreational teams, offer trainers courses there and organize clinics with NAC. The broader our training, the better players become. The entire club benefits from this.” And that has worked out quite well in recent years. “We now all play at division level, our U23 is doing well and the first team consists of almost all youth players. We once wanted 85 percent, we are above that.” Not only that. “The goal was to become a stable second division team, which is quite outdated. We now play in the fourth division.” If it were up to Ben Omar, it wouldn’t stop there. “I think we can reach that third division. We really have gold in our hands.” This is also evident from the interest in players. “Clubs from the region who come shopping, that is a compliment for us. Although we would of course prefer to keep them ourselves. But often, they eventually come back.” It secretly makes him a little proud. “It is very nice to see that if you give youth a chance to play football at the highest possible level, they make it happen!”
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