Just Ridiculous

I have seen some absolutely bizarre things in the world of football but this may take the cake.

Dutch club VVV Venlo announced that it has signed an 18 month-old boy by the name of Baerke van der Meij. Yes I did say 18 months, that is not a joke.

I have heard of clubs signing 11 year olds and I was shocked by that, but a toddler? It seems that it is a joke.

Quite possibly it is just a publicity stunt. Venlo is not paying the kids family much money but it gets the team’s name out in to the football media.

VVV Venlo’s basis for signing the youngster (and I MEAN youngster) was off a youtube video that shows the little Dutchman kicking balls in to his toy chest. I am not sure this is the most conventional of signing techniques but only time will tell.

Meij was signed to a 10 year contract, which in most cases is a very long contract. However this one only keeps him until he is 11.

I still can’t get over getting on Soccernet in the morning and reading this (full article in link), “Van der Meij, 1, has been signed up by his local side on a symbolic ten-year professional contract but despite the club currently battling against relegation from Dutch football’s top-tier, it’s not thought he will be thrown into the action any time soon.”

Obviously Soccernet thinks it is somewhat of a joke as well. The caption under the photo reads, “Baerke van der Meij celebrated signing his ten-year contract with a glass of orange juice.”

I hope Meij the best of luck!

Eredivisie

Dutch football does not receive enough credit. After the trade rumors about Ryan Babel and Luis Suarez I decided that this blog needed to discuss the Dutch Eredivisie (the professional football league in the Netherlands).

The Eredivisie has never been competitive with leagues like the EPL or La Liga in the actual competition between teams. However, Eredivisie is by far the best league for the development of football players.

The Dutch style of training and development is true genius. Youth players do not play 11v11 until they are at least 15 years old. This means that youth get many more touches than if they were playing larger sided games like they do in most countries. The youth learn how to control a game, passing and moving and then are able to better translate that to a game with more players.

Dutch development also focuses on the football psychology of players more than any other country. They work to develop a strong understanding of all the variables in football, an understanding of the cause and effect relationships on the field. This allows for the players to be best suited for intelligent play and use their skills most effectively.

There is a reason that talented Brazilians, Portuguese, Spaniards and players from all around the world go to the Netherlands to develop their football skills. It is the Mecca of football development. Dutch football should get more credit for the great teaching they bring to football.