As we left off in the last post, we got to visit the House of European History located in Brussels. What struck us the most about this museum was the sheer vastness of the information, as you could spend two hours on one out of the six floors. Following the museum we had the rest of the day to explore another part of Brussels and eat our final waffles.
Most of Friday was spent traveling to Amsterdam by train. Our arrival in the Netherlands was met with a unique Russell Schouweiler quote, "freaky deaky Dutch, let's do this thing!" After being in the city for no more than 30 minutes, it began to lightly hail, but luckily we had gotten to our hostel. Shortly after arriving we were "doing this thing" and were on the road again heading to a match between FC Utrecht and AZ Alkmaar. This match ultimately ended with a score of 1-1 and was exciting to the very last second.
In class the past few days we have been discussing various coaching methods. Our discussion and readings were specifically framed around the coaching styles in Dutch history. We noted the differences between the methods of well known coaches Michel, Cruijff, and Van Gaal. We tried deciding which style we prefer to use.
Following class we went to Ajax's open training session, which they hold a few times each year. The stands surrounding the practice pitch were packed with Ajax's biggest supporters. They had flares and several different noise makers. There were rows of people standing all around the field as well. The training session was just a small preview of the exciting match we had the chance to attend the following day. The team was preparing for the biggest match in Dutch football, a battle between the top two teams in the country, Ajax and Feyenoord. Following training, we took a tour of Ajax's home stadium, Amsterdam ArenA. We then had the night to explore on our own.
Sunday was the day of the big match. The atmosphere was like nothing we had ever experienced. Fans were chanting and yelling the entire match. Flags were waving throughout the stadium, and two incredible goals by Ajax, giving them the 2-0 win over Feyenoord. As part of our homework we watched a specific position at the match. We designed a training session for the players who played in this position.
We presented our training sessions in class this morning. After class we loaded the bus and headed to KNVB, the home of the Dutch national football teams. We were put through a fun training session, and we ate incredible food after talking to the KNVB nutritionist. Following lunch, we attended a workshop in which we learned about the structure of the football association in the Netherlands and ended our time with a tour of the campus.
We are now at the hostel preparing for our journey to Frankfurt tomorrow afternoon. We have all greatly enjoyed our time in Amsterdam, where many of us have gone to the Anne Frank house, the Van Gogh museum, and on a canal tour, among other things. We are sad to go, but excited to see what our final nine days have in store.
We wanted to share a nice quote from one of our readings: "A day without football is a day lost." -Daniel Fieldsend