Holland Spring Trip '09 Recap

The 2009 CBC Dutch Touch trip to Holland was a smashing success! The trip provided all of us with many memories and experiences that will remain with us for a long time to come. We met some great people, saw some incredible sights, experienced the Dutch way of living, and were certainly engulfed in the Dutch way of playing soccer. It was a fast paced, well-planned trip that had every day full of activities that kept every one busy and tired, but also very enriched.

We hit the ground running, as they say. The first 2 days in country were spent in Amsterdam and Eindhoven, two of the larger cities in the country. The day in Amsterdam started at the Ajax complex with a Stadium tour, Museum visit, Fanshop spending and watching a training session of the professional players. It was quite start to the trip!! Following the time at Ajax, we went to downtown Amsterdam for a canal cruise, sightseeing and spending. Our time in downtown was cut short as we
headed back to the east to Doetichem for a professional game of DeGraafschap vs Heerenveen. It was a great atmosphere in the stadium as the home team (DeGraafschap) was in regulation danger and Heerenveen was sitting 4th in the table. A big upset on the night as the home team, lifted by the roar of the home crowd, pulled off a big win. We returned back to Hotel around midnight to wrap up an exciting first day of the trip. The second day took us in the direction of Eindhoven, but first a stop in Someren for a mini indoor tournament on smaller than normal indoor pitches. We played for 2 hours and then headed into Eindhoven for the professional game PSV Eindhoven vs Vitesse Arnhem. The Philips Stadion in Eindhoven is a host site for Euro Cup and Champions League games, as it has been recently renovated and is state of the art. The game was relatively flat and ended 0-0, quite unlike the game the night before. After 2 days, we had a good taste of Dutch soccer and saw a considerable amount of the country. We were off and running!

The third day, Sunday, we had a reunion with the "dutchies" who have come to St.Louis the previous 2 summers. We also met with the guest families and then we all went for our first training session with 3 Dutch coaches taking charge. Following the session, we returned back to the Hotel and a visit to the War Museum '40 -'44, a very historical presentation which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Sunday also marked the first day of rain - and then it rained everyday for the rest of trip. It was a cold and windy rain at that, but it was never enough to change our plans. As the locals pedaled their bikes through the rain, so we continued our program as planned, without any interruptions. Sunday concluded with a nice dinner in a restaurant in the local village. Another great day.

When Monday rolled around it was training in the morning, trip of some sort in the afternoon, and play a game in the evening for the rest of the week through Thursday. Our trips included a visit and tour of the NEC Nijmegen stadium and training facility, shopping in downtown Nijmegen, laserquest, a visit to a local soccer shop, a historical tour of Arnhem and The Bridge Too Far. Harry and Theo, our Dutch coaches, shared many stories of the days of the war as they and their families experienced those times first hand. It really brought to life the places that we saw and made it all the more personal. A big highlight was Wednesday, when we spent the entire day in Germany. The day started with a visit to Dusseldorf for shopping and sightseeing and then to Gelsenkirschen, the home of FC Schalke 04, of the German Bundesliga. At Schalke, we toured the brand new 80,000 capacity Veltins Arena, home of Schalke 04. It was very impressive, to say the least. We were also fortunate to watch part of the first team training session and visit the Fanshop and collect more souvenirs. At the end of the day, we played a game vs Schalke youth team. In all the games we played, they were played against teams of dutchies who had been to St. Louis during the previous 2 summers. At times, the dutchies would join with us to help make up the numbers. It was a real experience playing the dutch as their style of play is fast ball circulation and fast defensive pressure. There was very little time on the ball and a clean first touch was absolutely necessary if you wanted to have a chance to make a play. We improved with each game as we adjusted to the speed of play and the use of the body. The best way to learn is to experience it first-hand and we did that in each game that we played. Each of the youth complexes were absolutely first class. They take great care in providing quality training facilities and they all seemed to be very similar in their makeup.

The last few days of the trip the players spent with guest families and got an up close look at how the Dutch really live. From Thursday night through Sunday morning, the US players were paired up and stayed in the Dutch homes and for most everyone, this proved to be a highlight of the trip. The guest families were extremely friendly and made our kids feel very much welcomed. It was an experience that will result in many lasting friendships and correspondence will continue back and forth for some time to come.

A special thanks to Jan Pruijn, the Dutch master who makes everything happen. Jan has contacts everywhere and he put together an outstanding itinerary for us. Jan came in from his job at Ajax Cape Town in South Africa to be with us during the week and we certainly appreciate that. Our accommodations were great, the food was good and plentiful, the experiences were life-enriching and the people that we met along the way were very helpful and friendly. Harry Jansen and Theo Derks, our coaches and travel mates, provided us with many moments of laugher and insight, not to mention their soccer expertise. We had a total Dutch experience and we are very grateful to all the people who went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. Thanks to all the guest families and the others who managed to make time for us and to make our time there very enjoyable and memorable.

CBC Dutch Touch Off To Holland ~ Spring Trip '09

Dutch Touch returns to the land of tulips, windmills, wooden shoes,
bicycles ….. and, oh yes, some very good soccer as well. A total of 32 people will depart St. Louis on March 18, 2009 for an educational (soccer and life) trip to the Netherlands. The trip last spring ('08) was very successful, and the anticipation and enthusiasm is building for the '09 trip. Once again we have an exciting, busy itinerary planned that includes a nice balance of soccer, sightseeing and cultural exchange. As we experienced last spring, Holland is a country with a strong historical past combined with a free-spirited present.

We will also have the opportunity to reunite with our 'Dutchies' from the previous 2 summer camps, when they came to St. Louis to train with our local players. The players will join together for training and games, and also compete against each other as we will play their local teams. In addition, the plans include games against Japanese and German teams as well as the Dutch teams, with a game in Germany to boot. A full day is scheduled in historic Amsterdam with a visit to the famous Ajax Amsterdam grounds to watch a practice, tour the Amsterdam Arena, visit the Ajax Museum and go crazy in the Gift Shop. Sounds exciting and challenging!! The group will return to St. Louis on March 29 with a lifetime of memories.

The group of players going to Holland are: Jake Bond, Nick Lenkman, Mara Keomanivane, Corey Nolte, Kevin Groppe, Nick Imo, Chris Gys, Tyler Womack, Nico Cruz, Craig McLaurine, Mike Michler, Josh DePriest, Brendon Ebert, Spencer Holloman, Dimitri Sanchez, Jacqlynn Milligan, Andrew Robinson, Natalie Quisenberry and Matt Roderique. The group will be accompanied by Terry Michler, Tom Michler and Brett Gregory. Jan Pruijn will handle all the planning in Holland and the group will be trained by Harry Jansen and Theo Derks, both fully licensed Dutch FA coaches.

The plans are in place for the '09 International Summer Camp to be held at CBC High School from July 19 - 24, 2009. With enrollment limited and interest sky high, applications will fill quickly. If you are interested in attending, please click on Camps to get more information and an application form.

Testimonials link
Final itinerary for the Trip to Holland 2008 PDF
Venray Easter Tournament website
For What It's Worth PDF

Any questions, please contact
Terry Michler at

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