The Dutch Football Class started in 2017. This year was the third time. Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture hosted the “Dutch Football Class” as part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Host Town project. It offers lessons to 110 elementary school students in the city to deepen their international understanding through soccer.
In Japan, there are few opportunities to interact with overseas players at this age. When I was 12 years old, I got the opportunity to participate in a few youths training sessions at two Dutch Football clubs. The first thing that surprised me was the requirement to be able to think for myself on the pitch and to have fun. Even now, as a professional, this is still the basis of my play. I wanted to convey this to the children. I think it is a skill that I would like them to develop, in addition to learning the techniques.
Through interacting with the children, I could feel that I am still having the same feelings as when I was in elementary school. I realized that innocently enjoying playing soccer is one of the reasons why I continue to play soccer.
With so many professional players out there, I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to share my experiences in this way. This class is always held during my off-season, and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch after this class. Maybe it’s because the off the kids’ dedication and pure smiles that inspire me; I can’t hide my excitement… right?
01 June , 2019