Although FAD’s Edmond Claus has obtained his 1st degree in PE, UEFA-C, UEFA-B, UEFA-A as well as his UEFA-PRO license, he developed most of his expert knowledge on football, goalkeeping and youth development through years and years of professional experience, as a player and as a coach.
His story started in the summer of 1994, when he became AFC Ajax’s third goalkeeper at the age of 24. At the time, Edwin van der Sar and either Fred Grim or Stanley Menzo were first and second goalkeeper at Ajax. Besides playing for Ajax, Edmond represented the Dutch football association in different national and regional teams. After a few years, Edmond moved to SV Noordwijk, where a serious knee injury forced him to quit football at the age of 27.
“His dream became reality he was the 3rd goalkeeper of the world wide respected football club AFC AJAX.”
Unwilling to leave the world of football, Edmond was fortunate to be asked by AFC Ajax to become the Youth Goalkeeper Coach. Edmond became the Youth Goalkeeper Coach, as well as Head of Youth Goalkeeper Scouting and Head Coach of Ajax’s amateur league side. During his time as Head of Youth Goalkeeper Scouting, Edmond played a major part in the discovery and subsequent development of top goalkeepers Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham F.C. and Dutch national team) and Kenneth Vermeer (AFC Ajax and Dutch national team).
He has witnessed from inside the Ajax academy the development of players like Wesley Sneyder, Nigel de Jong, Raphael van der Vaart, Ryan Babel and many other great examples. In his long Football and coaching career Edmond has worked with top coaches, such as Louis van Gaal, Co Adriaanse, Jan Olde Riekerink, Frans Hoek, Frank de Boer, Ronald Koeman and Marco van Basten. In his role as assistant coach of the Chinese national youth team for players under 20 years, he has also put his mark on the onrushing Chinese football talents. This practical experiences with keepers and players he has linked to his pedagogical background and management education. This makes him into a versatile football developer.
“This opportunity gave me the possibility to learn AFC Ajax from the inside."
In 2000, Edmond worked in South Africa as Head of Youth Development for Ajax’s satellite club Ajax Cape Town. Together with a small team, Edmond set up Ajax Cape Town’s youth academy from scratch. Everyone involved was more than satisfied: when Edmond went back to The Netherlands in 2001, the academy was successful. The Ajax Cape Town academy has produced a significant amount of international players since then.
From 2004 until 2009, Edmond worked as Head of Youth Development at HFC Haarlem, another one of Ajax’s satellite clubs. At the time, HFC Haarlem functioned as a feeder club to Ajax, as well as a safety net for dropouts from the Ajax academy. During Edmond’s time there, HFC Haarlem’s academy produced players who would later go on to play for clubs such as Ajax, PSV and FC Twente - amongst whom Gregory van der Wiel (Paris Saint-Germain).
In January 2010 Edmond was asked to return to the Ajax academy to become the under 16 team’s coach, as well as Assistant to the Head of Youth Development Jan Olde Riekerink. With Edmond as their coach, the under 16 team made history by winning the national cup against PSV’s under 17 team and the super cup against the national under 17 champions Feyenoord. A few players of that team made their debut in the 1st team of AFC Ajax. (Stefano Denswill, Lesley de Sa, Davy Klaassen and Fabian Sporkslede)
By now an experienced coach and an expert on youth development, Edmond worked with Jan Olde Riekerink to introduce techniques like video analysis, Athletic Skills Program and Coach the Coach Masterclass to Ajax’s academy. Amongst the players to emerge from the Ajax academy during Edmond’s time as Assistent to Head of Youth Development Jan Olde Riekering were: Gregory van der Wiel, Christian Eriksen, Nicolai Boilesen, Lorenzo Ebecilio, Jody Lukoki, Vurnon Anita and Aras Özbiliz.
Edmond helped the KNVB set up and develop the recently launched (August 2011) course for Head of Youth. He also helped the KNVB to set up and develop an assessment tool for the 12 best professional soccer clubs in the Netherlands. ( Regional Football Academies)
In 2011, Edmond left the Ajax academy. Together with Jan Olde Riekerink, he moved to China, where he worked as Assistant Coach for the Chinese national mens youth team and as an advisor on youth development and goalkeeping to the Chinese football association.
Ever since he started his career in 1990, Edmond has worked in many different fields in football. For more than two decades, he’s worked on all levels, as a player and as a coach, with boys and girls, in different countries and on different continents.
“Over the years you create your own vision on football and football development in all aspects. You learn from others and use their special knowledge.
I have to mention Frans Hoek and Jan Olde Riekerink as my best teachers. I have to mention Louis van Gaal and Co Adriaanse because they inspired me the most. I admire Raymond Verheyen for his contribution to football by simplifying conditional football training (coordination, power, endurance, speed, recovery) to real football training.”
Wherever Edmond went, he achieved short term as well as long term success.
Now, his expert knowledge is available to your football club’s academy.