The GU15 Rush National Team Continues the European Tour
On Wednesday, the GU15 Rush National Team (RNT), coaches and supporters boarded their touring bus to Amsterdam as the final destination of the Adidas International training program. When arriving in the city, the RNT players trained with former Ajax professional player, Rafael Supusepa at the Ajax Academy.
Thursday’s activities were centered at the Ajax Academy training facility “De Toekomst” for the team’s second intense training session with Supusepa.
Following training, Tom VanKampen, Ajax consultant gave a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities at the Ajax Academy and Amsterdam Arena. The arena is home to the Ajax team. The girls enjoyed visiting the stadium and many will be sporting their new Ajax fan gear in the states.
A beautiful canal boat tour with the sites and sounds of Amsterdam was next on the RNT’s sightseeing agenda.
On Friday morning, the team had their last training session with Ajax’s Supusepa.
The level of the Rush girls is very high when I compare it with the Netherlands. Technically the girls are very good. The energy that they put in the training was also very good. They have a good mentality, maybe that's more important than talent to reach your goal. – Rafael Supusepa, AJAX Trainer
With 18th century roots and known for its windmills, tulips, cheese, chocolate and wooden shoes, the Zaanse Schans located outside of Amsterdam was a stunning venue for Friday afternoon outing for the Americans. The team took time to relax and enjoy one another’s company.
The RNT finished their competitive match schedule of the tour against the SC Buitenveldert on Friday evening. SC Buitenveldert is considered the best female soccer club in the country. The game ended 2-2 with a controversial off side’s decision that was never given, although the linesman flagged for it. One of the highlights of the game was Riley Whitaker (IA) 25 yard freekick from a tight angle that found its way into the top left hand corner to make it 2-1.
“The unity of this RNT team was very evident during the match this evening. The girls were excellent in all phases of the game. The noise among the 300-400 Buitenveldert supporters when they scored was deafening and something our girls will never experience that again in their lives, as the cheering was was different to what they experience back home, it was passionate, real and from the heart. Overall the girls did tremendously well considering they are U15 and all the teams they played on this trip were U17, I’m very proud of the group both on and off the field.” – Russell Finch, GU15 RNT Head Coach
Tom VanKampen form AJAX was present at all the training sessions and the game against Buitenveldert and after being around the team, he has become one of their biggest fans.
This week has been a great week. When I think of the Rush girls there are a few words that come to mind: Social group, very tight, technically skilled, clear goal and vision, fit and a great motivator in their trainer. For me as a trainer it opened my eyes, the girls are on a high level and they definitely inspired the Dutch girls, not only by their performance but also the mentality.
To Rush I will say: It is good to see that you play by a philosophy, keep that up and you will be successful! – Tom VanKampen, AJAX Consultant
Saturday’s walking tour of the vibrant city included the historic Anne Frank House, Lombardo’s-voted the best burger restaurant in Amsterdam, the Floral Market, Dam Square, Kalverstraat and other popular destinations.
At the final dinner on Saturday, Van Kampen presented each player and coach with a certificate of participation from the Ajax Academy. Coach Finch reflected on a photo of the world-best player Mia Hamm with sweat rolling off her face during a personal workout on her UNC teams day off. Hamm was working to get better at her game without her coaches presence.
Finch encouraged the team not to let their training sessions be coach-centric. The players from nine Rush clubs that were represented in Europe must go on with their soccer journey and explore the game just as they did with their travels. Finch said, “When you go back to your club, you’ve got to do more on your own. The game is giving you more than you are giving the game. Work harder, want to be better and remember to continue to spread the RUSH WAY within your clubs!”
The players, coaches and supporters would like to thank their new European friends---Carrin Rosseboom, Martin Zaluk and Tom Van Kampen for their welcoming hospitality and Adidas International Training and Rush Soccer for this amazing opportunity.