The experienced Dutchman has previously worked at FC Utrecht and Arsenal.
Bengaluru FC have appointed Dutchman Jan van Loon as the Blues’ youth development manager, the club announced on Tuesday. The 56-year-old, who started his career as a coach and youth coordinator at PSV Eindhoven alongside Guus Hiddink, has held various positions in the youth development programs of FC Utrecht and Arsenal FC, among other clubs.
“It excites me that India is getting more and more interested in football and that I can be part of this movement. I want to contribute to the process of bringing India higher on the list of FIFA rankings, and the way to achieve this is to create players who can represent the national team of India.
“We want players aged 12-18 to take the next step and make sure they succeed. The bar is set high and I think we can create a program where players and coaches grow together,” said Jan van Loon.
Van Loon, who most recently served as director of FC Utrecht’s coaching academy, has also worked with the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) as football development coordinator. During his time at Arsenal between 2014 and 2017, he was academy stage coach for teams between the U9 and U23 age groups, and worked alongside Arsene Wenger in the development of players such as Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka among many others. .
“I spoke to Simon (Grayson) and I’m really excited to work with him. The path from the B team to the first team is the most difficult, so we will have to support potential first team players in this phase. We believe the right way to grow as a club is to have local players, and we are convinced that the direction the club wants to take is the right one,” added van Loon.
A UEFA ‘A’ licensed coach, van Loon is renowned for his work in youth development and has led football workshops and summits on various topics around the world. During his time at Arsenal, he also served as head of individual development and overlooked the transition of Mikel Arteta, Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry from former first-team players to managers. At Wolfsburg, van Loon oversaw under-23 development and served as Andries Jonker’s first-team assistant coach.
“Jan’s profile speaks for itself and we are delighted to have him join us at Bengaluru FC. We now want to focus on guiding our coaches to deliver the right program for our players to develop individually. Our youth development program is at a crucial stage, where we want our players to have the best possible chance of qualifying for the first team and Jan’s experience working with some of the best players in the world will be invaluable to them. players, and our youth coaches,” club CEO Mandar Tamhane said.
Bengaluru FC’s youth development program has made great strides over the past few seasons, with their academy and residential day boarding teams winning honors in several local and national youth leagues. Most recently, the Blue Colts competed in the RF Development League, where they finished top of the standings undefeated.
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