On the eve of Feyenoord playing against Manchester United on Thursday on the first Matchday of the Europa League, it’s time for me to explore the partnership that they have forged with SLSG Illinois. For a look at Feyenoord and details on tomorrow’s game, scroll to the bottom. Now let’s look at how a Dutch club based in Rotterdam, an international shipping center with a stadium (De Kuip) located along side a major river, has come to be associated with a soccer club based in Collinsville, IL along the Mississippi. It’s all about the Culture.
ROOTS OF SLSG PARTNERSHIP
The conversations between SLSG Illinois and Feyenoord FC began with Technical Director Dale Schilly (at the time) and Sevy Sucurovic, Director of the International Pro Management program in 2013 that Feyenoord had rolled out. It came at an Academy Development camp and conversations continued for nine months as the two organizations explored how they might work together. In the Spring of 2014, two teams of U13-U14 boys traveled to Rotterdam to participate in a week long training session. SLSG Illinois returned the following year with another pair of teams as they continued the discussions of their needs and Feyenoords ability to help them grow. That resulted in a formal agreement announced in July 2015
St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois is pleased to announce they have entered into a formal Master Educational Partnership with Feyenoord Rotterdam who were voted the top Dutch Academy in Holland for 5 consecutive years between 2010-2014. The Feyenoord Academy is recognized world wide as one of the top clubs for developing youth players into professionals and SLSG Illinois players and coaches will now have access to that knowledge and experience through a collaborative working partnership.
In January the Club offered a summary of the results achieved in the first six months of the agreement. A key element was a five day Launch Event that included discussions of Best Practices in Club Management and Soccer Operations as well as Player and Coaching Clinics that touched 100 players and 40 coaches. As Blake Decker, Technical Director for SLSG Illinois discusses in the audio interview I include below, the Goals he and his staff identified for the relationship included three key elements.
The structure of the relationship was developed to address several key components essential to producing a better environment for St. Louis Scott Gallagher Illinois players, mainly an overall analysis and assessment of the current environment, recommendations, coaching education and additional opportunities for players to challenge their current level of development.
This Summer the organization provided a Summer Training Camp for players which is what drew me out to Collinsville, to see for myself the approaches being used. I spent some time with Sevy and Blake and then captured this 24 minute interview with the two of them and Melvin Boel, International Development Coach and the primary contact for Decker and his staff.
INTERVIEW WITH BLAKE DECKER, SLSG ILLINOIS with MELVIN BOEL and SEVY SUCUROVIC of FEYENOORD FC ACADEMY
I’ve got some more notes from the conversation I want to transcribe for this story but it’s time to get this published as well. I hope you take the time to listen to the interview, it covers the commitment of both organizations and the unique nature of the partnership. It’s very much geared to get to the needs Blake Decker and his staffed outlined in establishing the agreement and I personally love the long-term focus both are taking to managing and measuring the results. And it’s not about winning!
Some references from the conversation regarding players reaching the first team, signing with Saint Louis FC include –
SLSG Metro alumni Seth Rudolph playing for STLFC and Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal and Aedan Stanley sign Academy contracts. Kuzain has since signed with the Swope Park Rangers (USL) as well as committing to Akron University. Stanley recently became the first home-grown player to make the 18 man roster for Saint Louis FC.
What: Europa League Matchday One
Who: Feyenoord v Manchester United
Where: Feijenoord Stadion – Rotterdam
When: Thursday September 15, 12:00 pm CT
TV: Fox Sports 1
— Feyenoord Rotterdam (@Feyenoord_int) September 14, 2016
Feyenoord last featured in this competition in 2014/15, reaching the round of 32, where a 2-1 home reverse to Roma ended their challenge. It’s United’s first ever Europa League match, after they failed to qualify for the Champions League last season. They finished third in the Eredivisie in 2015-2016 to qualify for this years Europa League.