"U23-teams in a professional league are a great catalyst for talent development"

Marink Reedijk

On Friday, the Challenger Pro League will kick off with the purple-and-white duel between our RSCA Futures and Beerschot. A special evening for Dutchman Marink Reedijk, as he sits in the dugout for his first game as head coach of our U23s. 

On his previous job at Vitesse

"Phillip Cocu and Thomas Letsch are two head coaches I learned a lot from. Phillip used to play at the highest level as a footballer. Obviously, then you learn a lot about how he sees and experienced things as a player, from his stories, what he thinks is important... Thomas in turn has a background at the Red Bull teams and also focuses a lot on the human aspect. It was great to work with them."

About the team

"We have a group that is very eager and wants to get the best out of themselves. That includes both the players and the staff. Our group is still young and inexperienced at the moment, but has already shown me a lot of desire. You can already see that on the pitch, in how the players engage with each other and talk to each other when they do something wrong. I did not expect that, coming in, this team would already have gone through such an evolution."

On the goals for this season

"For me, it's very simple. This team is meant to prepare players for the first team. At the same time, we also want to finish as high as possible in the Challenger Pro League, although that is of secondary importance to me. Finally, we also hope to do that with an attractive style of play, so that fans also want to come to the stadium to watch the Futures. But the most important thing will always be that players, and preferably as many as possible, are developed to make the step to the first team so that Brian has more options."

About the Challenger Pro League

"In youth football, it's normally about developing your technical and tactical skills. Thanks to this competition format, our Futures also learn how to deal with bigger, physical opponents. In the Netherlands, we have the same system. There, you often see that the U23-teams are the better team in a technical aspect, but they lose the game at certain key moments. Youth players thus learn how to win those kinds of games. That is a great asset for the development of top talents. You also see that in the Netherlands, where top talents have made their breakthrough at Ajax and at PSV in recent years."

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