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Summer Coaching Symposium Clinician: Frans Hoek

Note: This is the first in a four-part series profiling the clinicians headlining NorCal Premier Soccer’s 2023 NorCal Coaching Symposium. The event, which will be held June 9-11 in Oakland, will be co-hosted by USL Championship club Oakland Roots SC. To sign up for the symposium, click here. Second up is Frans Hoek, who served as part of the Netherlands National Team’s staff at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Hoek has been a longtime innovator in the sport through his stops at Ajax, Barcelona, Manchester United, and more. 

Veterans of NorCal Premier Soccer’s coaching education circuit will undoubtedly have attended a presentation or two by Frans Hoek, the innovative Dutch coach who has been on the forefront of innovation in world football since joining Johan Cruyff’s staff at Ajax more than three decades ago.

And those who have seen more than one presentation know that no two of Hoek’s lectures are the same, with this summer’s incorporating cutting-edge thinking into three different presentations.

First off, Hoek will present a game analysis for the round of 16 matchup between the United States and the Netherlands, in which Hoek and his staff helped oversee a 3-1 victory that ended the USMNT’s run early.

“It’s about the process, so I will take concrete examples of everything we did (in that game),” Hoek said. “It’s all about how we prepared and learned to know a lot about the US, how we built a game plan, and, finally, how we executed the game plan.”

A former goalkeeper and longtime goalkeeping coach, Hoek is now leading a movement to change the position’s moniker from its widely-known name to that of a “goalplayer” in order to reflect the worldwide trend of that position being more integrated into the rest of the game.

“I will discuss the transition from goalkeeper to goalplayer and give an up to date example on the pitch, what it means, and how it shows in games and practices,” Hoek said. “I think that head coaches should know more about goalplayer coaching. The goalplayer coach, the specialist, should know more about the total team performance, and the idea is that the two are coming closer together, working together, in a better way so it will definitely benefit the end results.”

Lastly, as usual, Hoek will run a session focusing on set pieces, which the Netherlands notably used to their advantage in the quarterfinals against Argentina to force extra time after a late goal.

“I’ll go through all of that, the process, how we practiced it, and the execution,” Hoek said. “I will also go more into general set pieces and show them on the field how to practice that and how we did it with the national team. It’s many subjects, but I think they all contain information that hopefully is beneficial for all of the coaches who are visiting us there.”