Team Jonk started with Wim Jonk and Ruben Jongkind. Working together at AFC Ajax Amsterdam as individual trainers, they shared not only a vision on talent development, but also the conviction of the potential for improvement of the once famed Ajax academy. Consequently, they teamed up with Johan Cruyff in 2010 and wrote the famous “Plan Cruyff”. One of the main pillars of this visionary plan was the reform of the Ajax youth academy, based on an individual approach in talent development. After a period of great turbulence, often referred to as “the velvet revolution”, the club finally adopted the Plan Cruyff as its new policy in 2011.
Johan, as the driving force behind the revolution, continued as the club’s strategic advisor. Wim was appointed Head of the Academy and a member of the newly instituted Technical Heart in charge of football policymaking. Ruben was appointed Head of Talent Development and responsible for the implementation of the plan in the academy. Between 2012 and December 2015, we implemented the Plan Cruyff, and by doing so revolutionized the academy and the club as a whole. The Ajax academy structure and its culture were fundamentally reshaped, introducing a new philosophy that marked the player and his development as the indisputable focal point of the academy, in all aspects of its organisation and processes. However, despite a clear pattern of improvement in the academy, other parts of the club were not on route to excellence and tensions arose. In December 2015, after a period of ongoing disagreement with the Ajax board of directors about the lack of implementation of the Plan Cruyff in other parts of the club, the involvement of Wim and Johan with Ajax came to an end. As a result, no less than 14 people decided to leave Ajax, lacking the belief that the Plan Cruyff would be fully implemented without Johan Cruyff and Wim Jonk.
By that time, we had not only worked together intensively, but morphed into an ever closer group of individuals. When one door closes, another one opens. In retrospect, Team Jonk as we know it came into life in December 2015. Since then we expanded our team by adding numerous internationally acclaimed experts on talent development. Among them is Bob Browaeys , one of the visionary reformers of Belgian (youth) football since 2000. We also continued working with our great inspirator Johan Cruyff, until he suddenly passed away on March 24th 2016. However, in spite of the emotions involved, our passion and will to continue has only increased. We are connected by a shared vision, our passion and a set of principles strong enough to stand up for what we believe in. Given our complementary assets, ample experience in elite talent development and a rare set of highly valuable knowledge and skills, Team Jonk is now ready to service the football world. We will uphold our pledge to Johan and continue with his football legacy, as the exclusive licensee and worldwide operator of Cruyff Football.