Dutch Scoop in International Football

leadership talentdevelopment teamperformance Oct 27, 2020

Dutch FA KNVB had the scoop yesterday to have a 19 year old female player continue their journey with growing into the first Senior Men Team of their local club. A pilot, the KNVB admits, to see if this player (since 5 year old always played at this club at highest youth teams) will lead to permanently change the RULE to prevent female players play with men team, starting from Amateurs A level up... I celebrate this initiative as the first Federation to critically question their own principle!

Rule or Principle Outside the RULE there is a leading PRINCIPLE for the KNVB: ''Football is for everyone, and each talent needs to have the opportunity to play at his/her own level.'' Clear! Not many would disagree with this Principle. But what are the main concerns and questions popping up then?

''So can men play also in women teams then? Amateur Football, yeah maybe an exceptional female player can make it... Is your Goal to mix Pro Teams? Not a chance! Men are too strong and fast for female players to participate.''

Strength and Speed We all know that in general at 18+ especially, men have more physical power and speed than women. So knowing that a men showing up in a women team already has an advantage that will be (almost) impossible to reach by the 10 women in his team ends that discussion. He can with his strength and speed that he inherit compensate for his lack of football qualities. So a man can find his challenge with every level of male football. Numbers absolute and different levels.

A women entering a mens Team starts with an almost impossible physical backlog! Big chance that (almost) all of the 21 players around her are bigger, faster and stronger. But does this mean at forehand she can't add any additional value to that Men Team? At our FootballEquals U17 Team we trained 3x a week with a group that holds 70% boys (3rd and 4th level amateurs mostly) and 30% girls (4th and 5th level boys club teams generally) Every month we played boys teams that were playing 1st or 2nd level Amateurs, so higher level as well as they were a team for lots of years. No game did we loose, most of them we tied, or won!

Nr 1 Rule in Teams: "What's your added value?" On the field it doesn't matter what your Age, your Nationality or your Gender is! You have added value to the team,,,or not! Every team needs different values and qualities. As long as your strengths outbalance your weaknesses. We had a u15 girl play in our FootballEquals u17 team. Average size for a 14 year old girl. Younger than the boys that played with her in this team and younger than our opponents boys. Physically less power than the others around her, less speed than the others around her on the field. But no one worried if she could hold herself in midst of that lack of speed, power or age! Because each player, staff member and fan around this team knew she outperformed every expectation! She was a player that made the Team play better! It was by her level of Intensity, Character, Coaching and her speed of Action and Decision-making. She was Conscious, and Constant aware of the Team, its environment and challenges! And when her teammates, coach and all fans recognize and acknowledge this, why would we keep a RULE that denies this value for the Team and her own Development?

''Is it your goal that Pro Clubs should consist of mixed teams?'' As President of the FootballEquals Foundation I get this question a lot. No, it is not my goal to have mixed teams in Pro Leagues. It is my goal not to exclude Talent for a Team to bring added value! As I believe no one can exactly predict how any Talent can develop why would we put the RULE, the RESTRICTION up front? Do I believe that a female player can add value in a mens Pro Team? None of us can exclude it. As a Coach I would take every opportunity, talent or skill that would make my team develop, grow AND perform better! So imagine the War on TALENT and we say upfront, you can't fish for Talent in that Pon...

Pilot: Rule or Principle. When your principle is leading to have each Talent he/she compete at their level.. When your principle as a Coach is to design and develop the nest Team, based on every talent available. Than you leave the RULE that can ultimately block your PRINCIPLE! The Dutch FA KNVB should get credit for that. Being the first Federation publicly willing to discuss their own Principle.

About my background: UEFA A professional Coach, Founder of the FootballEquals Foundation & Owner Holland Football University Speaker on TalentDevelopment & Teamperformance.

Read the article of KNVB and the Club vv Foarut here: ESPN News

More information on getting Mary as Keynote speaker

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