Vera Sweers recently had a dream come true when she was told that she could join the Ajax U16 Talent Team. The talented teenager grew up in Spain and Dubai, where she came into contact with the Ajax philosophy. Vera’s move is unique, because never before has a player from the United Arab Emirates moved to the Amsterdam youth academy.
The Sweers family moved to the Netherlands from Dubai last summer. For Vera, it is the first time that she has lived in our little country in her early life. “It’s a whole new experience. I lived in Dubai for a total of seven years for my father’s work. He works for an international company and was transferred.” Vera was excited to live in the Netherlands. “I was happy when I heard that we were moving, especially because of football. Here there are greater opportunities to develop myself further. In addition, it is nice that I am closer to my family again.”
It is significant that Vera immediately makes the link between her new home and football. The talented midfielder has been crazy about the sacred game from a very young age and has often been admired on the football field in both Spain and the United Arab Emirates. “It was very nice to play football in Dubai, but different than in the Netherlands. In Dubai, there are many associations with international expats who would like to play football. Football is less important there, which means that the opportunities for advancement are smaller.”
Ajax founded the Ajax Academy Dubai at the end of 2021 in collaboration with partner Only4Stars with one clear goal in mind: training youth through the Ajax philosophy. This was music to Vera’s ears, so her parents decided to register the talented teenager. She belonged to the first class of the successful football school. “As a Dutch person you know the name Ajax very well. It is therefore fantastic to be able to say that you play for the Ajax Academy. The training sessions were very technical and according to the Ajax philosophy. It was very nice to come into contact with that. and I have been able to develop considerably, partly thanks to the individual training courses offered.”
Vera had to stop at the Ajax Academy Dubai due to the move to the Netherlands, but another wonderful adventure took its place. Ronald de Boer (former Ajax Academy Dubai trainer and namesake of the former Ajax player) and George Kazianis (co-founder and CEO Only4Stars) saw potential in Vera and contacted Ajax, after which Vera was offered an internship with the U16 Talent Team. “When I came to the Netherlands I trained a few times and based on my performance they decided that I could stay.”
The fact that Vera was finally allowed to play football at Ajax after her internship was a major milestone for the Ajax Academy Dubai. Never before had a player from the Emirates ended up at a large professional football organization via a football school. “It was fantastic to hear that I could stay and I am very happy that I was given this opportunity. I am doing well, but there is still a lot to learn.”
Vera has big dreams for the future. “First of all, it is a dream for me to grow through the Talent Teams to the first team and make minutes there. Ultimately, I also hope to make it to the Dutch national team. I will still have to do a lot for that, but that is my goal. dream. In any case, it is fantastic that I can play for the U16 Talent Team. I largely owe this to the good training and the trust from the Ajax Academy Dubai.”