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...But it took a long road to take me there. It was in 2006 that I decided to drastically change my career. By that time I had worked for quite some years as a researcher and consultant in the field of organisational design and change. But I always had a passion for sports (football, martial arts, triathlon) and teaching so I wanted to become a trainer/coach. I decided to say goodbye to my consultancy career and after a successful period in

track & field and amateur football, I attained the position of individual trainer at the Ajax youth academy and simultaneously coached elite 800 metres athlete Bram Som back to world elite level. This process taught me so much about individual elite sports, that he decided to combine his knowledge on elite individual sports and organisational design and apply it to my work with Ajax’ top football talents. Consequently, I teamed up with

 

Johan Cruyff and Wim Jonk in 2010 to write the “Plan Cruyff”. One of the main pillars of this visionary plan was the necessary upgrade and reform of the Ajax youth academy, based on an individual approach in talent development. After a period of great turbulence, often referred to as “the velvet revolution”, the club finally adopted the Plan Cruyff as its new policy in 2011. I was appointed Head of Talent Development and became responsible for the implementation of the plan in the academy. Between 2011 and December 2015, I implemented the Plan Cruyff and by doing so I helped to revolutionise the academy and the club as a whole. In concert with Head of Academy Wim Jonk, we fundamentally reformed the Ajax academy structure as well as its culture, introducing a new philosophy that marked the player and his development as the indisputable focal point of the academy, in all aspects of its organisation and processes. In December 2015, after a period of ongoing disagreement with the Ajax board of directors about the lack of implementation of the Plan Cruyff in other parts of the club, our involvement of Wim Jonk and Johan Cruyff with Ajax came to an end.

In 2017 Ajax rose back to the top due to the development of world class players who later joined the ranks of the absolute elite in football (Juventus, FC Barcelona, Manchester United).

Between 2016 and 2019 together with a group of colleagues I worked as director of Cruyff Football spreading Johan Cruyff’s football legacy throughout the world. 

In 2018, together with Patrick Oudejans, I founded Montessori Sports with the aim to enrich Montessori environments with sports and to use the power of sports to improve education for all children. It was in 2008 when I was introduced to the Montessori philosophy through Ajax youth player Jamie Lawrence, the son of Steve and Lynne Lawrence the CEO of the Association Montessori Internationale, based in Amsterdam.

In 2020 Montessori Sports signed a strategic partnership with AMI. Montessori Sports online course have particpants from more than 50 countries worldwide. Montessori Sports programmes run in schools in France, the United States, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, China and Australia. Thousands of children and teachers have been inspired by this pioneering program to enjoy sports in a child centered manner. Furthermore, I initiated the Montessori Sports Fund. This fund supports indigenous communities to create and sustain holistic Montessori learning environments for children, using sports.

Next to this, in 2019 I became strategic advisor to the Dutch professional football club FC Volendam, where the group, once leading the Ajax Academy helps the community to build a sustainable football ecosystem based on a strong academy.

I hold master's degree in environmental science and business administration and I passed the AMI Montessori Guide 3-6 exam in 2020 guided by AMI trainer Guadalupe Borbolla.

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