AZ Alkmaar’s academy has become one of the most prolific in the Netherlands and is producing some of the finest talents in the country. Below is ten exciting youngsters heading for stardom at the AFAS Stadion.
Attacking midfielder, Guus Til, is having an excellent breakthrough campaign in the Eredivisie and is already a key player with AZ and the Netherlands U21’s.
The 19-year-old who was actually born in Zambia, made 16 first team appearances last season and scored twice, but spent most of the campaign with Jong AZ. This summer he was officially promoted to the first team and has been outstanding so far, with five goals in eleven league games. He was the matchwinner in the recent 2-1 win over Heerenveen as AZ came from behind with Til netting both goals.
Til is tall and powerful, but also technically excellent on the ball. He loves to dribble forward on the ball and has a real eye for goal around the box. His link-up play with AZ striker Wout Weghorst has been one of the club’s biggest weapons of the campaign so far.
At 19, Til is already a key player with Netherlands U21’s and if he keeps up his current form it won’t be long before bigger clubs start sniffing around the youngster.
He may only be 16-years-old but Myron Boadu’s performances for the club’s U21 squad last season have put him on the cusp of the first team. A skilful, pacey forward, who can play on the wing or through the middle, Boadu netted six times for Jong AZ last season as they won the second division, but a knee injury towards the end of the campaign has kept him sidelined since.
Once Boadu returns he is set to take his place in John van den Brom’s first team and prove why several big clubs from around Europe are already swarming around the Netherlands U17 international.
The 19-year-old controlling midfielder has been a star in the AZ academy and for Netherlands youth teams in recent years and was finally handed his Eredivisie debut in the 4-0 defeat to Feyenoord in October. Koopmeiners impressed despite the defeat and hasn’t looked back since, completing the 90 minutes in AZ’s last three matches and scoring his first goal with an excellent strike against Utrecht.
His performances have seen him rewarded with a new bumper contract until 2022 and he is set to remain in Van den Brom’s side for the rest of the season.
Koopmeiners is a technically gifted midfielder, who has excellent vision and a wonderful left-foot. He likes to spray passes around from deep and has a fierce strike from distance.
Wijndal became AZ’s youngster ever debutante last season at 17 years and 68 days when he started the 4-2 defeat to PSV Eindhoven, and the young left-back is now a permanent member of the club’s first team.
Thomas Ouwejan may be the first choice left-back at the moment but Wijndal is pushing hard for a spot in van den Brom’s side, so far having to settle for just the two appearances this season.
Wijndal has all the attributes of a modern full-back, with the youngster as comfortable going forward as he is at the back. His strongest assets are his pace and tackling ability, but Wijndal also has excellent technique with the ball at his feet.
Last year, the talented 17-year-old midfielder made the move from FC Emmen to AZ’s academy and is making a big impression in Alkmaar. After only one year the club have already offered him a bumper new deal which ties him down to the club until 2020.
At the time, AZ director Max Huiberts said on the youngster, “Thijs is a very talented midfielder. He is technically gifted, has a lot of running ability and a great technique. Last season, he was elected the Youth Player of the Month in March and was a permanent fixture at Orange Under 17. That says a lot about his development. ”
Oosting plays primarily in the centre of midfield, but can also be deployed on the wing, where he has played at several times for Netherlands U17’s. He is an excellent passer of the ball and has a deadly right foot which has seen him net some special free kicks.
Oosting is still with the AZ U19 side but is expected to make his professional debut with Jong AZ at some point this campaign and the first team wont be too far away.
Stengs announced himself to the Eredivisie last season with a string of excellent performance during the European playoffs and is now regarded as one of the Netherlands biggest talents.
The winger dazzled at the end of last season, scoring twice in the playoff against Groningen, before providing two assists in a 3-0 win over Utrecht. Tentative comparisons to Arjen Robben were made and he was set to be one of the stars of this season until a horrible knee injury eight minutes into the season opener against PSV ended his campaign.
The 18-year-old is not expected to return this season but will be hoping to pick up where he left off when fully fit. If he does, then AZ and the Netherlands have a superstar on their hands.
A dynamic box-to-box midfielder, Hoedemakers has been impressing in the Jong AZ midfield this season, and was handed his first team debut in a friendly against Cambuur.
The 19-year-old, who is a part of Netherlands U19 squad, signed his first professional contract at the club in February and has been on the cusp of the first team since. Comfortable sitting in front of the defence, or as a number ten, Hoedemakers is two-footed, strong, good in the air and technically gifted.
With Koopmeiners already making his Eredivisie debut, Hoodemakers chance won’t be too far away.
Back in 2015, AZ agreed to sign the young winger from Central F.C, a club based in his home nation of Trinidad & Tobago and he quickly made his first-team debut at the age of 18.
An unpredictable and pacey forward, Garcia initially impressed in the Eredivisie but has been in and out of the first team since John van den Brom took over. This season he has only made four Eredivisie appearances from the bench and has had to settle for most of his minutes in the Eerste Divisie with the U21 side.
However, Garcia, who already has 12 caps for Trinidad & Tobago, is still only 19 and definitely has the talent to become a key player in Alkmaar. If he can fulfil his vast potential, AZ potentially have a sensation on their hands.
The Netherlands are searching for the next generation of centre-forwards who can take over the mantle from the likes of Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. AZ have a candidate for the future in 18-year-old forward Jelle Duin, who has been prolific in the club’s youth set-up.
The left-footed striker is pacey and loves to dribble at defenders, but is at his deadliest in the box. His height and strength also make him a threat in the air.
Duin is currently a member of AZ’s U19 side and a regular with Oranje u19’s but his performances mean he should be knocking on the door of Jong AZ or even the first team in the near future.
A powerful centre-back, Justin Bakker is impressing for Jong AZ and a first-team debut cant be too far away.
The 19-year-old, who spent time in the Ajax academy before joining AZ signed his first professional contract with the club at the end of last year after training with the first team. He has since been starring for Jong AZ and has appeared in all twelve Eerste Divisie games so far this season.
Bakker is a typical Dutch centre-back, who is tall and strong but also comfortable with the ball at his feet. He is yet to make his first-team debut, but that is expected before the end of the season.