Belgium's youth development model and what we can learn from it
I listened to a podcast a while back and found it super interesting and thought it was worth a share. It was an interview with Belgium's Director of Coaching, Kris Van der Haegen.
Some of you know that Belgium is currently in the middle of what is a golden generation of players for them. They are loaded with talent and have probably the strongest group of players that they have ever had as a nation, many of whom play in the premier league. You may have heard of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku to name a few. Because of this, a lot of people consider their Men's national team a dark horse for this summer's upcoming World Cup and I would consider them probably the most popular underdog, outside pick to win it.
However, this golden generation of players is no accident. You may not know that at the turn of the 2000s, Belgium was not doing very well nationally with soccer. It was at this point that they decided to revamp completely their entire youth structure and how they were developing players, and it is currently paying dividends with world class talent.
It is also great to see that many of the things that Kris talks about in the interview are things that we are placing as important to us at Gallatin Elite as well. Things like a player-centered approach, game-based training, giving players freedom to not be scared to fail and try things, not focusing on results, etc, are all tenets of our player development model at the younger ages.
Check out this article that summarizes what Kris says in the interview, and if you have time, I suggest listening to the interview/podcast too as it is very interesting: