Alkmaar Zaanstreek is a Dutch professional football club from Alkmaar and the Zaanstreek. The club competes in the Eredivisie, the top flight of Eredivisie football.
AZ Alkmaar Youth Development System
AZ plays to win and to please the crowd. Preferably this is done with several players from the AZ Youth Academy. The aim is to let fifty percent of the squad consist of youth exponents of the club. This is now the case with players like Calvin Stengs, Guus Til, Thomas Ouwejan, Teun Koopmeiners and Myron Boadu. De AZ Academy is an important pillar of the club.
AZ Alkmaar Youth Academy
The AZ Youth Academy hugely developed itself in recent years and constantly keeps striving for further progression. Innovative is a word that fits the Alkmaar breeding pond, which won the prestigious Rinus Michels Award for best youth academy of the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016. Also, the AZ Academy has gotten the highest possible status according to the Quality & Performance Program of the Dutch FA.
In AZ’s vision football needs to be played with the intention to dominate games with an attacking playing style. The AZ Youth distinguishes itself with great game insight, self-management, imperturbability and creativity. The players are both technically and physically in optimal condition, so they can play on the level the AZ way of playing demands and persevere this level for an entire match.
Individual development is paramount in the AZ Youth Academy. Therefore, each talent gets his own personal program, so he can be offered ultimate development with customized accompaniment. They player himself is made responsible for his own development, so he gets more insight in his own output and gets conscious of his strengths and points of improvement.
The aim is to let fifty percent of the squad consist of youth exponents of the club. In the current season this happens to be the case.
The current first squad counts thirteen AZ Youth Academy exponents. Ron Vlaar is the most experienced of them, the others are captain Guus Til, Thomas Ouwejan, Calvin Stengs, Golden Boy-nominated Teun Koopmeiners, Pantelis Hatzidiakos, Owen Wijndal, Jeremy Helmer, Marko Vejinovic, Myron Boadu, Jasper Schendelaar, Adam Maher and Mees Hoedemakers. Also, Joris Kramer, Ferdy Druijf, Jamie Jacobs and Joerie Church are regularly included in the selection.
Through the years the AZ Youth Academy has development lots of players who now play professional football. Often they make their debut in the first squad, but AZ exponents are to be found in each layer of the game, like the top of some European leagues. Some examples of these players are Wesley Hoedt (Southampton), Jeremain Lens, Oğuzhan Özyakup (who both play for Turkish outfit Besiktas), Derrick Luckassen (Hertha BSC) and Ruud Vormer (Club Brugge).
AZ Alkmaar Academy Training Center
In the summer of 2016 the AFAS Training Complex was opened in Zaanstad. A brand-new training ground for both the first squad and the nine teams from the AZ Youth Academy.
The main building of the AFAS Training Centre is multifunctional. On the first there’s a Family Home where the youth squads can eat and relax, and visitors can enjoy a beverage on matchdays. The games can be watched from the stand on the front of the building, accessible from the Family Home. On ground level there’s the dressing rooms, with at the end of the hallway the gym and a treatment room where the medical staff is working. Above the gym there’s an office area and the lunch room for the first squad.
At the AFAS Training Centre the players are offered a variety of surfaces to train on. There are both natural grass and artificial grass pitches, and in the summer of 2017 the palette of surfaces was given a substantial boost with the construction of the Under Armour Performance Playground. On this ‘triangle’ behind field 2 can be trained and played in all kinds of forms on artificial grass, sand and asphalt. Training on various surfaces serves the purpose of cognitive, technical and physical development.
AZ has a culture of constantly seeking for further improvements. Not only on organizational level and in the guidance of the players, but also in offering a wide range of facilities to fit this progressive vision. In addition to the Performance Playground mentioned above, it is also possible to play Teqball (a football variant on ping-pong) and Foot Squash. Furthermore, all resources are available in the gym to tailor physical programs and for the development of cognitive skills the club uses Virtual Reality and progressive computer games such as IntelliGym.
The AFAS Training Centre can be found at Zuiderweg 74A, 1456 NH, Wijdewormer.
AZ Alkmaar Academy Youth Teams
AZ Alkmaar Football School
The AZ Football School is a collaboration between the AZ Youth Academy and the amateur associations in the region. The initiative dates from 2010 and aims to raise the level of football in North Holland to a higher level by sharing knowledge.
In our view, for the development of a player under the age of 11, it is best to train in his own social environment, without having to travel a lot. In our view it is unhealthy to take a player out of his familiar environment and lose hours every day traveling. That is why we believe that they should spend the first part of their training with an amateur association in their own area.
Then it is important that players are developed in the right way and with good guidance. The level of associations and trainers must be of a high level and match the AZ vision. Good cooperation and a lot of knowledge exchange between AZ and the amateur associations is therefore important. Through the AZ Football School we can jointly raise the football level in North Holland to a higher level and train youth talents as well as possible.
Not only does knowledge exchange take place between AZ and the amateur associations, but the strength of the AZ Football School also lies in stimulating the exchange of knowledge among themselves. Every amateur association, amateur trainer and amateur player is different and needs different information and training. The support of AZ through the AZ Football School is therefore needs-oriented and tailor-made.
n addition, we also find it important to have an equal relationship with all associations, trainers and players in our hinterland. We are a regional club with a national image and endorse our social role. The whole of Noord-Holland must have a bond with AZ and know “what we stand for” and “what distinguishes ourselves”. In addition, the amateur associations act as regional support points for AZ and are the preliminary phase.
AZ Alkmaar Academy Recruitment
In the AZ Football School in the Region, the greatest talents of North Holland are given the opportunity to develop further under the guidance of AZ trainers. This happens on Sundays at associations working with the AZ Football School in the regions of Alkmaar, Heiloo, West-Friesland and Zaanstreek. This provides an extra incentive to young footballers with potential. If they stand out positively among the AZ scouts, they may be asked to play in the AZ Youth Academy.
The AZ Selection Days are organized in the spring in collaboration with eight cooperating amateur associations. Youth players in the age categories Under 8 to Under 14 then show their skills to the scouts of AZ. Football players who stand out positively have a chance of winning a place in the AZ Youth Academy. Registration is possible at the beginning of the year via AZ.nl/AZ-Selectiedagen.
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AZ Alkmaar History
AZ has twice been crowned champion of the Eredivisie, in the 1980–1981 and 2008–2009 seasons. They won their first league title during the same season that they competed in and reached the UEFA Cup Final, which they ultimately lost to Ipswich Town. In addition, they have taken home the Johan Cruyff Shield once and the KNVB Cup on four other occasions.
AZ Alkmaar Stadium
The AFAS Stadion, which can be found in the southern section of the city of Alkmaar, is where AZ plays its matches at home. Since its opening in 2006 as the DSB Stadion, the stadium, which is directly owned by the club, has taken the place of the previous venue known as the Alkmaarderhout. There are now 17,023 people who can fit inside the stadium.
The slogan “In Alkmaar begint de victorie” (Victory begins in Alkmaar), which was commonly used throughout the planning stages of the stadium, was a reference to the Dutch War of Independence. The term Victorie Stadion was widely used during these times.
Because of the board’s focus on financial concerns, this name has not been put into formal use up until this point. Instead, sponsorship deals have been pursued. Despite this, the name continues to garner a respectable amount of support from the followers even today.