ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Illinois division announced a renewed partnership with Feyenoord of the Eredivisie (Dutch first-division) for the next two years. SLSG IL players and staff recently returned from a trip to Feyenoord where they spend nine days training, learning, and touring the Netherlands and Belgium.
“The time spent and insights acquired through our interactions with Feyenoord, both internationally and domestically, have been invaluable to the development of our club, players and staff,” said SLSG IL Academy Director Blake Decker. “Our initial goal in securing an international partnership was to find a club with whom we could develop a long-term technical relationship that would provide us with opportunities for continual growth as we evolved from a youth club to a professional soccer organization. In Feyenoord, and its’ staff, we found that partner and we are excited for the next phase of our partnership.”
“As players and as coaches, there is so much to learn from the Dutch, more specifically Feyenoord,” said SLSG IL Club Director Dale Schilly. “The quality and style that they achieve at such a young age is why they are renowned as one of the elite Academy programs in the world. The technical level, the insight, and the decision making that the players have attained is remarkable.”
The SLSG IL-Feyenoord educational partnership has existed for the past four years to bridge the gap in coaching and player development for both clubs. Each year, SLSG IL staff visit Feyenoord to gain knowledge from the technical and operational side of the club while the SLSG IL Academy players gain valuable experience by playing against Feyenoord Academy teams. SLSG IL brought 68 travelers in total this year, including the 33 players from the 2004 & 2005 SLSG IL Academy teams.
In addition to the eight soccer training sessions, the players and staff enjoyed three professional Feyenoord games during their stay with two league games and one cup game. They also spent an evening playing footgolf, enjoyed walking tours in Rotterdam and The Haug, and took a boat tour of Bruges.
“We are glad to see St. Louis Scott Gallagher is committed to continuously improving on all terrains,” said Gido Vader, Feyenoord Manager of International Relations. “They have proven themselves a very loyal partner. Through our cooperation, hundreds of Americans have visited us here in Rotterdam by now, getting to know and love Feyenoord. It has been a great partnership so far and we look forward to an even better future.”
“As players, competing against and with the Feyenoord boys challenges you to play in a similar style and to commit to reach that level,” added Schilly. “As a coach, you walk away from training and games asking yourself, ‘What can I change to help players achieve that level?’ Every time I visit Feyenoord and interact with the staff, I walk away challenged, motivated and humbled. This trip again was another incredible experience.”