Miya meets den Heijer in Holland

Mike den Heijer is a graduate player from our programme. WPSS director of football Hiroshi Miyazawa (Miya) is currently in Europe on a football education trip and caught up with Mike in Holland.
Miya – When did you start working in our programme?
Mike – I started the academy when I was 6 years old.
Miya – How did you get the opportunity with your current club NEC Nijmegen?
Mike – I went travelling to Europe in early July last year and was staying at my cousins house in Nijmegen, one day I went to watch the local eredivise (Dutch top league) club first team training. After the training I approached the reserve team coaches and asked if I could join a few trainings to see the level. After impressing for a couple of weeks in training and games the club then gave me the opportunity to join the club for the 2016/17 season.
Miya – How do you find the dutch football style?
Mike – I have found that dutch football style is very intense and they demand that you are quick to close down players with the ball when defending. With the ball the players here are very skillful and trust their ability.
Miya – What did you learn in our programme that you feel has helped you get to where you are so far in your football career?
Mike – I appreciate having learned the basic footballing necessities to one day reach the professional level. The simple things like having a good touch, being able to pass the ball well and understanding the game.
Miya – What do you think you need to improve to get a first team opportunity?
Mike – I think I need to learn to improve my decision making in selecting the correct pass to play. Also of course the physical aspect of the game, in my position mainly winning the ball back for the team.
Miya – What would you advise to young kiwi footballers aspiring to play overseas one day?
Mike – To focus on making sure you have the basic footballing skills. Passing with both feet, a good first touch and to have a lot of knowledge of your position.

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