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Head coach Willem Jansen gives players space to be vulnerable

Head coach Willem Jansen gives players space to be vulnerable

Football NOS

In the first nine years of his career, Willem Jansen experienced so much stress that he often vomited in the toilet before a match. He did not dare to talk about it. Jansen carried the secret with him in silence all this time, until he began working with performance coach Joost Linders.

The former player of VVV-Venlo, Roda JC, FC Twente and FC Utrecht (410 games in the Eredivisie) gained insight into the behavioral problem that held him back and learned how to deal with it. Jansen is taking his experiences from his football time with him in his new role as Technical Director of VVV-Venlo. After a nice long career as a player, he has been working at his old club in Limburg since this summer. FC Utrecht wanted to put Janssen alongside technician Jordy Zuidam. However, the former captain chose his old love in Venlo.

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The 36-year-old Jansen says in Along the line and the surroundings. “Almost every club has a mental coach or performance coach these days.”

In his later professional years, Jansen, as captain of FC Utrecht, tried to create an atmosphere in the dressing room in which players could be open and vulnerable. “If you dare expose yourself, others can help you too.”

“As I got older, I started to notice more in the dressing room. By talking to the players, I was able to do something for them.”

team player

“I’ve always been a team player, and now I’m also a manager,” Jansen says. “From an early age, I’ve been observing group operations and group dynamics. How should a group be brought together? I find these kinds of things interesting.”

Such issues also fit into the composition of a select group, which is one of Janssen’s most important tasks. “I’m thinking about which characters would fit together. I think that’s a feature that will help me a lot in this profession.”

For now, the results show Janssen is on the right track. VVV won their first two games in the Kitchen Champion division. Another important test case is scheduled for Sunday with a home game against PEC Zwolle.

spoiled soccer player

However, Janssen is still looking for the best way to fill his new position. “As a footballer, you are used to a lot of structure. You are told exactly when the training starts and where you should be. Everything is arranged for you. It looks very spoiled, but it is also the best way to perform well.”

“This is now gone,” notes the brand-new head coach. “Now I have to organize my own agenda and find my way myself. There is no one to take you by the hand. This is very different from eighteen years as a footballer.”

Back to FC Utrecht?

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Willem Jansen bid farewell to Utrecht at the end of last season.

“You’ve started really well with points in VVV. I’m sure you’ll make it,” van Sommeren told Janssen. “I hope to see you again in Galgenwaard one day.”

Jansen certainly does not rule out a return to the club where he played for nine years. “I think it’s important to know if I like a career as a technical director. VVV is a very good environment to start that.”

“FC Utrecht really became part of our family,” he says. “We were totally at home there.” This feeling will not go away.