Pulling the strings: The two most important coaches at Maccabi Tel Aviv – Sport 5


The general went. Whoever put the Premier League into a horror film in the location of a football field, the tough guy, Vladimir Ivitch, has left with two championships and the yellow soldiers will get a new leader, and it will most likely be Yorgos Donis. Until the process with the Greek is completed, the 2020/21 season of Maccabi Tel Aviv will open tonight (Saturday) against Hapoel Beer Sheva with Patrick Van Levon and Uri David on the lines. So who are the temporary commanders? A Dutch-Israeli combination, with the executive director of the youth academy at the forefront, who makes all the decisions together with the man in charge of the flagship project of Kiryat Shalom – the elite group. Meet the yellow duo.

Freak Control
Van Leven closes 4 years at Maccabi and has made a revolution in the club’s youth department. The number of players in the academy has decreased, the focus is more personal and the filtering is sharp and cutting. The Dutchman does not see Maccabi as a community center or school, his perception is that whoever wears the yellow shirt should be in the top of the top, from a young age. The Dutchman, who has won titles as sporting director of Kairat from Kazakhstan and worked for 7 years as director of the youth department of Shakhtar Donetsk, is leading the academy and taking it a step further. His secret man in Kiryat Shalom is David, who has been with the club for 12 years and coaches the first youth team.

Van Leven’s goal is to connect all coaches to one method, one way and one philosophy. A coach will not call his team “my team”, this is a club team. All the coaches work in the academy for all the teams, the coach up to the age of 15 comes to help the coach up to the age of 17 in morning training, he helps the youth and so on. They all work as one piece and create a uniform football language.

Changes also create problems and the Dutchman’s path at Maccabi caused players and coaches to leave. The professionals and parents wanted to go their own way and those who deviated from the new format are no longer in the club. The Yellows preferred to lose a player or two along the way and gain a future. In general, the parental relationship is defined and orderly. Van Levon does not allow them to enter the training complex and the work environment is completely sterile. The collaboration works by in-person meetings in the presence of the player. Everything is arranged and organized on fixed dates. Maccabi made a cut to parental involvement and everyone straightened up. It is impossible to talk to a coach and there is no way to trick it.

The chosen coach
The connection with David was formed from the first moment Van Van landed in Kiryat Shalom. The Dutchman, through Barak Yitzhaki and Yoav Ziv, asked a coach from the youth department to work with the alumni players who are on sale (Eliel Peretz and Eli Desa at the time), those who stay in Israel and do not go to games in Europe and those just before signing (Nick Blackman last summer).

David, 40, was selected by the Dutchman and even accepted the prestigious position in the department – the elite group. This format also existed in the days of Nir Levin at the club, but under Patrick it has been upgraded. This season the coach’s team has been joined by three past players, who work with the players according to their role on the pitch. Defense Coach – Dedi Ben Dayan, Link Coach – David Revivo and Offensive Coach – Carlos Chacana.

In addition, the outstanding students from each yearbook aged 15 and over who are in the project (about 35 players) undergo mental training, with the analysts in the department working closely and individually with them. Coaches should teach the players according to their personal videos and the games on Saturday. From there, a weekly training program is built that is tailored to each player according to the categories he needs to improve. A player who is in a less good period will come to the mental coach, a player who needs a deep understanding of his position will work in the tactical aspect and so on. All according to Patrick’s Torah.

Technologically the players are connected to GPS and the Playmaker program, which measures the touches on the ball, which foot touches more, how fast they stop and remove the ball, the distances they do and the short and long sprints. In addition, a nutritionist works with them one on one and they undergo blood tests to make sure they are not missing anything in the body. The hive of the executive director went down to the smallest details. In the yellow department, we marked Ido Shachar, Bar Cohen, Nadav Nidam, Ronen Hanetzis and the twins Amit and Tamir Glazer as the first buds of the new model, which is gaining great significance in the club’s daughter group – Betar Tel Aviv Bat Yam.

The yellow philosophy
The daughter group model started with Jordi Cruyff, but today it is completely different. Last season, 16 Maccabi Tel Aviv players played for Betar Tel Aviv and the coach also belonged to the club (Raymond Atfeld, who moved to Maccabi Netanya). Understanding that the most important thing for a youth player is stability and progress. The loanees are under the full supervision of the system staff in Kiryat Shalom. In training, who builds them.

However, Van Leven never rested. The Dutchman makes sure to innovate and challenges the professional team. He is interested in everything and asks specific questions about young children. He introduces new formations and makes sure to brainstorm between all the coaches. His hive in seniors includes analyst Israel Kakon, physical construction coach Yossi Zigdon, goalkeeping coach Shura Obarov, and of course David, the first Israeli coach to be in seniors since the 2012 season.

Without a doubt, Maccabi is going through its most difficult and shaky summer in the Mitch Goldhaar era. The separation from the generation of Micha and Noble Noble, the difficulty in signing foreigners due to the corona and the question mark around Eyal Golsa cast doubt on the readiness of the Yellows for Europe. At least professionally, the two people who lead her until Donis arrives seem ready for the task. Tonight there will be a first tool trial against Yossi Aboksis and BS in a battle for the first title of the season.


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