Great that you have already participated in the Ajax Camps & Clinics five times! Are you excited for your sixth Ajax Camp next summer?
Yes, I’m super excited! This year my friend Robbie will join me. We play in the same team at FC Aberdeen. It will be the second time that he joins me in the Ajax Camps & Clinics. Last year I asked him to come along and he liked it so much that he wanted to join me again this year.
Did you recognize some other kids when you returned at the Ajax Camps?
I met many other kids from all over the world during the Ajax Camps. Sometimes they return to the Camps the same week as I do. It’s fun to have friends from all over the world. I have friends in Poland, Ireland, Germany, England and even in Hong Kong!
That sounds really cool, Dylan! Do you play with them in the same team during the Ajax Camp?
Sometimes. The teams and coaches vary every day. Each day you can win prizes, as a team or as an individual. At the final day of the camp I reached the Ajax Skills Final. I played that final against my friend from Hong Kong. I ended up being the second best out of everyone!
Impressive! Can you tell me more about the Ajax Skills Final?
Every Ajax Camp starts with an opening ceremony on the first day of the week. It was so cool to enter the Ajax Training Centre like that. It makes you feel like an actual professional football player. At the end of the week the Ajax Skills Final takes place. This includes the 1 versus 1 finals, which are my favorite. Besides that, there are a lot of other ways to win prizes. Unfortunately, I didn’t win any with my team.
Is this your favorite part of the Ajax Camps & Clinics?
No, it’s really cool but I like the coaches in the Ajax Camps best. Because of the different coaches you get throughout the whole week, you get to meet a lot of them. My favorite coach was Bjorn. I liked him and he liked me too, so training with him was probably my favorite part.
And did the coaches teach you any new tricks?
They did! I learned the Ajax stand, the Donny van de Beek, the Zidane and the Johan Cruijff. I like the skills and tricks at Ajax. These are my favorite training forms of all the training forms they have during the Ajax Camps. We practiced on the streets, indoor, on grass and artificial grass during the Ajax Camp.
Which underground did you prefer?
It was quite cool to train on so many different undergrounds. Training on the street was something new for me. It was also very warm last time I went. It was around 30 degrees the whole day. Luckily, we had a lot of drink breaks and I like playing in the heat. But if I had to choose one, I think indoor was my favorite underground.
Did one of your Ajax-heroes stop by to visit?
Donny van de Beek came last time! Meeting him was very special. He is my favorite Ajax-player. I want to be a professional football player as well when I grow up and be as good as Donny van de Beek and Kevin de Bruyne. They are my role models.
What activity besides football did you like best?
During the Ajax Camp we went to visit the Johan Cruijff ArenA for a stadium tour. I was super excited when I heard that we were going to do this, because it was going to be the first time I saw the stadium from the inside. During the tour, we even get to sit in the (substitute-)chairs next to the official Ajax-pitch. Besides visiting the ArenA there is this sushi place called Ichi-E. I went there several times with my parents for dinner after a long day of training.
Do you still have some Ajax merchandise as a memory from the Ajax Camps?
I still have a lot of Ajax things from the Ajax Camps. I have five sets of the Adidas uniform and I still wear all of them. The black and gold one is definitely the one I wear the most. I also have a football, an Ajax water bottle and an evaluation form from every Ajax Camp I attended. The evaluation forms are awesome and very helpful! The layout is changed each time and to get a form in Ajax-style is just very cool. I also like the pictures of the Ajax Camp. As soon as I’m back home, I check if there are any pictures of me in the album. The team photos are also great, they make me feel like a professional football player.
Are you well prepared for the Ajax Camp of next summer?
Yes! One of the former Ajax-players, Arnold Mühren, came to visit FC Aberdeen to show us how the youth players in the Netherlands train. He taught me the turns and skills of a real Ajax-player. He explained to me that knowing how to chip a ball is important. I have been practicing on that ever since. The weekend with Arnold made me more excited for this summer. Nothing beats training at Ajax.
Did Arnold give you more tips about becoming a professional football player?
Yes. He was here for the whole weekend, so I had the opportunity to ask him a lot of questions. He told me that you have to work very hard, practice a lot, focus on yourself and do loads of technical training with the ball, on a daily basis. But he also told me not to forget that school always remains the top priority.
Did Arnold tell you about his favorite moments as a player of Ajax?
Arnold played in the Dutch national team with class players like Johan Cruijff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens. It was impressive to hear about his times at Ajax and the Dutch national team. He told me that his greatest memory was his assist to Marco van Basten, who scored the 2-0 in the Euro Championship final they won against the Soviet Union in 1988.
What is your own greatest memory?
My greatest memory is when I won a trophy at the Ian Wilsons Football Camp. I was selected as player of the week. I visit the Ajax Camps & Clinics and Ian Wilsons Camp every year. I have been to a football camp from Borussia Dortmund last October and this one was impressive as well. But if I had to choose between those camps, I would always choose Ajax!
Thank you for your time, Dylan. Looking forward to your visit of the Ajax Camps next summer!