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Ajax Academy: Building for the Future

Steve Lawrence is a consultant to Cruyff Football and Ajax. With a Masters in International Sports Management, Steve is at the forefront of research into the topic of Relative Age Effect. Here Steve gives Player Development Project readers an exclusive look behind the scenes at Ajax’s brand new academic education centre, a building he worked on as a consultant architect.

The project for the new academic education centre at Ajax football club came about following discussions about the nature of pedagogy in the elite youth football environment. Ruben Jongkind (who was until recently the head of youth development for Ajax) and I had the initial discussions and the idea was developed with Ed Lefeber, Michael Kinsbergen, Edwin van der Sar and Johan Cruyff.

Ajax was already the leading player development club in the world, with the player development philosophy in the modern era going back to Vic Buckingham, Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff. Their legacy has more recently supported Louis van Gaal, Ronald Koeman and Frank de Boer, the latter of whom was the first team trainer during the academic...

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