Richard Grootscholten joins the team of Legia Warsaw
Recently, Grootscholten was the director of Feyenoord Academy Rotterdam (2016-2019); earlier, he held the same position at KGHM Zagłębie Lubin Academy (2013-2015). In the years 2005-2010, he was Director of Sparta Rotterdam Academy. The Dutchman will lead the management team of the Academy together with Jacek Zieliński, who oversees Academy since March 2017.
“Further organizational, personnel and infrastructure development of Legia Warsaw Football Academy is our priority. Bringing Richard into the team of the Academy is another big step that will allow us to enter a higher level and take advantage of the new opportunities that will come with the construction of Legia Training Center. In addition to Richard's enormous knowledge and skills, it is also important that he has already lived and worked in Poland for 2.5 years. He knows our mentality and the challenges of the Polish youth football. In addition, in the autumn of 2016, he led an external team which audited Legia Academy, so he also knows the specificity of our organization. During his work for Legia, Richard will share his substantial knowledge with each employee, so I am sure that his presence will be an impulse for further development” - says Legia chairman Dariusz Mioduski.
In the last two years, Legia Academy has been implementing a new training program, the provisions of which are in line with modern trends. Among others, a new game model has been introduced and its elements could be seen in action during the U17 and U15 finals of the Central Youth League won by Legia.
Now, the Academy is facing another task – taking things to the next level and preparing the oldest teams to move to the new Legia Training Center in Książenice in the commune of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, an investment started last April. Grootscholten is to help with these tasks.
“We are all well aware that a huge challenge awaits us and we need to meet the objectives set for the Academy: We are to train our players at an international level. We plan to move to the new Legia Training Center in July 2020, so we need to have everything ready very soon. Two years ago, we adopted a specific direction and now, together with Richard, we want to take things to the next level” - says Academy's director Jacek Zieliński.
During Grootscholten’s time at Sparta Rotterdam, the Academy was nominated for the Rinus Michels award for the best academy in the Netherlands three times and it won it once. Apart from Feyenoord, Zagłębie Lubin, and Sparta Rotterdam, the Dutch expert has also worked, among others, as an adviser to the Kuban Krasnodar FC, the Dutch football federation KNVB and as a Technical Director of Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Major League Soccer).
„After valuable experience gained working at one of the largest clubs in Holland, Feyenoord Rotterdam, I am very much looking forward to coming back to Poland” - says Richard Grootscholten. “Your country has always been an unpolished gem in my eyes in terms of the footballing potential which we know came to fruition in the 1970's and which surely will find its expression once again. More importantly however, it is the ambition of Legia Warsaw of becoming a leading European youth development centre which has been the ultimate factor in my decision to return. The ambition shown by the owner and his senior staff is exciting. The insight I gained into the club both during my time in Poland previously and from studying the club in depth means that I both see and feel the immense potential of Legia to become a well-respected European Football Club. The key to this surely is the capacity of Legia to help develop world-class young players of tomorrow. This is what I am here to help do. I believe the Legia Academy project is one of the most ambitious and extensive in European professional football. I’m incredibly excited to start my work and to combine forces with all the people at the club to push Legia onto the next level”.
Grootscholten will start working at Legia at the beginning of July. The oldest Academy teams return to training on July 8.