Students from LVS Ascot enjoyed an inspiring senior football tour to Holland during half term, training at top division Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem’s superb facilities and meeting stars of the game over there from 10th to 14th February.
Twenty students from the independent all-ability school were treated like stars themselves on the tour designed to build team morale and help them flourish in the sport. The trip gave them the opportunity to watch Vitesse Arnhem players training at close quarters, meet them, and make use of their superb training facilities.
Staying at the Hotel Papendal, a sports hotel used as the Dutch Olympic training centre, a short walk took the visitors to the Vitesse Arnhem training ground where they were invited to use the 3G pitch as well as the main training pitch used by the team, and receive a technical coaching session from the Vitesse academy coaches and reserve team players before using specialist gym equipment.
LVS Ascot’s young players were able to enjoy watching a Dutch Eredivisie match – the equivalent of the Premier League in England – as their hosts Vitesse Arnhem took on Willem II. The following day the LVS Ascot squad’s game had to be cancelled due to heavy snow so their hosts rerouted them – all expenses paid – to Amsterdam to watch Ajax play in another Eredivisie match, a trip which saw them meet one of football’s most successful managers, Louis Van Gaal, who has been in charge of Holland and Manchester United.
When the snow had melted, LVS Ascot’s squad, made up of senior school students and sixth formers, was able to play two specially arranged games against local teams, going down narrowly 2-1 in one match and drawing the other 2-2. They were also to enjoy watching more close up training sessions at Vitesse and meeting several of the first team players, including Lewis Baker who is on loan from Chelsea. They were able to quiz him and find out valuable information on what it takes to make it to the top of the sport.
Sports teacher Matt Humphrey said: “Our students are used to first class sporting facilities at LVS Ascot with several football pitches in our 25 acre grounds as well as an all-weather sports pitch, gym and indoor pool, but this was something else. They were also able to see at close quarters the levels of dedication and ability required to make it at the top level in sport, which we hope will inspire them to build on the hard work we always encourage them to put in. Our students were excellent ambassadors for the school and came back really inspired by our ethos to exceed expectation”.