Dutch Lions Announce New Head Coach and Staff
The Dayton Dutch Lions announced a new coaching staff for the upcoming 2013 season in USL PRO. Taking the helm as head coach in place of Ivar van Dinteren will be Patrick Bal, a 31-year-old native of the Netherlands. Bal will be joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Jack Hermans and Erik Tammer.
Dutch Lions FC President, Mike Mossel, commented on his new coaching staff, “I believe this year we have a good mix of talent, coaching experience and playing experience. We wanted to build off the 2nd half of the 2012 season, where we were unbeaten our last 7 home games as well as reaching the quarterfinal of the US Open Cup. With 12 of our players likely returning from last year we feel that Patrick and Jack are the best option to continue this process from day one, instead of starting over like we did in the last three seasons. Every year we have struggled in the beginning to get to the level that we want, but with most guys returning and the addition of some high level and experienced players, I feel we have our best team (on paper) ever. Patrick knows what the club is all about and what we expect, and I am confident he will do an excellent job. I know he is young (31) but that’s why we have Jack Hermans and Erik Tammer to assist him.”
Bal is very familiar with the Dayton Dutch Lions FC, having worked for the club since 2011. Last year he was Assistant Coach for the USL PRO team. He became Director of Coaching and Technical Manager in August 2012 after Ivar van Dinteren went back to the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, Bal played for the youth academies of professional clubs FC Utrecht (Premier League) and Almere City FC (2nd Division), where he made his debut at the age of 16. Bal coached multiple years in the youth academy of Almere City FC in the highest youth divisions of the Netherlands before moving to the USA. Prior to joining the Dutch Lions FC, Bal worked in New Jersey and played college soccer for Middlesex County College.
Bal currently holds UEFA B and USSF F coaching licenses. He says that he definitely plans to obtain a UEFA A license. He’s going to wait and determine how long he might be staying stateside before working toward higher USSF licenses.
“I am excited by the challenge and great opportunity of being named head coach of the Dayton Dutch Lions FC for the 2013 season. After working for the club in several roles, including assistant coach last season, it was an easy decision to accept the offer. I’m looking forward to working with Jack Hermans and Erik Tammer to make the 2013 season the most successful season in our club’s young history. The club wants to play the Dutch’ style of soccer based on player development and an offensive and creative soccer style. We want to be dominating and play offensively. It’s a huge challenge for the players and coaching staff to make this happen. The USL PRO is a strong league with a lot of teams that are really competitive with each other. We want to build on the second half of last season and fight for a playoff spot,” Bal stated in a press release issued by the team.
“Dutch” Style of Soccer?
When the newly minted head coach was asked by the Union Dues to elaborate on what he meant by the “Dutch” style of soccer, Bal explained that this philosophy is based on maintaining possession, movement without the ball, and applying pressure on the ball higher up the field. He suggested that in this system players had to be technically driven and smarter than their opponents. Bal added that these were ideas that had already begun to be implemented in Dayton, but he hoped the team would continue to improve.
In his coach’s profile on the Dayton Dutch Lions official website, created when Bal was still an assistant, he gave his views on the difference between American and Dutch soccer. He observed that “American soccer is based on strength, power and speed while the Dutch style is focused on skills, ball possession and tactics. If we can combine both you got the perfect mix. In Holland kids grow up thinking about tactics and making decisions on the field themselves. In America most sports are coached by the coach based on set plays.”
Playoffs?!?! Are We Talking About Playoffs?!?!
There probably a lot of USL PRO fans that find it laughable to hear that Dayton Dutch Lions expect to be fighting for a playoff spot in 2013. The team finished dead last in USL PRO in 2011, and a slow start to 2012 eliminated the Dutch Lions as a serious playoff contender early in the season. The Union Dues inquired of Bal whether making the playoffs was a realistic goal for the 2013 season. He unequivocally asserted that it was a realistic expectation. He pointed to the strong finish to last season, in which the team earned 17 points. He pointed out that 37 points were sufficient to make the playoffs last season, and the playoff format has been expanded to eight teams this year. Bal reasons that if his team can produce an entire year similar to the last half of last year, that the results will work out in the Dutch Lions favor.
As a fan of the Dutch Lions, I hope that there is more to Bal’s optimism than youthful exuberance and coach-speak. I also hope that fans and teams around the league continue to laugh at the idea of the Dutch Lions contending for a spot in the playoffs. I hope they continue to overlook the Dutch Lions until it is too late.
Jack Hermans and Erik Tammer
Bal is asstisted by Jack Hermans, who has been part of the coaching staff since the start of the club in March 2010. Hermans has over 20 years of coaching experience, including 14 years as Head Coach of Xavier University. Also added to the staff is Erik Tammer, who played 12 years of professional soccer (over 300 games) in the Netherlands for Ajax, Utrecht, Heerenveen, Sparta, Go Ahead Eagles, Excelsior and ADO Den Haag. Tammer received his UEFA C coaching license in 2011.
For someone who appeared to approach coaching with vigorous gregariousness, Ivar van Dinteren’s departure from the Dutch Lions’ head coaching position was curiously quiet. He communicated to the Union Dues through team representatives that he made the decision not to remain with the organization for personal reasons in addition to desiring to earn a UEFA A lisence. He continued, “[I wish the Dutch Lions] good luck and will follow as much as possible from the Netherlands.”
Ivar had been a part of the Dayton Dutch Lions since they were formed and began playing in the USL PDL in 2010. It was in that year that he started his American soccer career as a midfielder for the upstart amateur side, scoring two goals and two assists in 13 games. In 2011 he was given the tough task of being the head coach of the team as it entered the professional ranks, a position he held through the end of last season. During the two years under van Dinteren’s leadership the team amassed a record of 6-16-26.
The Dayton Dutch Lions FC kick off their season at home against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Beavercreek High School Stadium. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the Dayton Dutch Lions FC, please visit www.daytondutchlionsfc.com.