Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dennis Johannes Te Kloese Tigres UANL Director of Youth Development

Dennis Te Kloese, the former Chivas USA director of football, was responsible for building the Chivas USA youth program. Developing and discovering home grown talents the likes of Jorge Flores, Cesar Zamora and Gerson Mayen. The former Ajax player is now the Director of Youth Development for the Mexican Club Tigres UANL and has become a major presence in both the US and Mexico. The Tigres youth teams are not just dotted with home grown talents but several former players from the USSF Development Academy program. It's safe to say no Mexican teams is more active in identifying talents in the US and offering the opportunity to chase their professional dreams.

Hello Dennis, can you share with us how an Ajax man arrived at Tigres UANL? And what was it that attracted you to this position?

DJK - I met Hans Westerhof at Ajax and later worked for Hans at Chivas in Guadalajara and Chivas USA; Tigres invited me about 18 months ago as their Director of Youth Development, based on my experience in Holland and Mexico (and the US) with producing talented players. My first impression of Tigres was that it is a club with great potential to grow in the youth development area and has the possibilities to grow based on the structure of the club. Furthermore I thought it was a great challenge to start a new project after having worked for Chivas since 2003.

Q: What is your goal or your vision for the next coming years for the Tigres youth system? Personally, what would be your definition of progress or success?

DJK - Currently our youth teams do good in the different professional youth leagues (Sub 20, 2a Division, Sub 17 and 3a Division), with all teams in good positions, we have scouted a lot and reorganized practices, the intensity and added a lot of tournaments and more competition for our youth teams. The vision would be to have more youth players/home grown players in our first team, 2 or 3 years from now, a player with identity, we should be able to create players with a typical ´Tigres´ identity. Success would be to develop players for our club and has nothing to do with winning youth leagues or youth tournaments.

Q: Forgive my speculation but can you share how many Mexican-Americans do you have in the Tigres system? I think by my count 13. Would you say this is an active initiative by you and Tigres to tap into the talent pool in the United States?

DJK - The US is a great pool of talented players and there are a lot of Mexican (-Americans) that live all over the US, it is just common since that if we look for Mexican talent, we should also look in the US, as there are many talented players at the moment with Mexican background.

Q: Do you see this as a trend with the other Mexican Club teams?

There are different Mexican teams looking for players in the US and that seems normal to me, don’t know how important it is for other clubs; for us it is and we have talented players from the US currently playing for us.

Q: What was your experience like with past Dallas Cup tournaments? Can you share any stories of past youth players you’ve seen here and say to yourself; he’s going to be special?

Dallas Cup is one of the best youth tournaments and has a special feeling to it, due to the long history of the event. Last year we played some great games, actually our best game was against Man. City in the Super Group, a game we played great in certain moments of the game, but we lost in the end. Alan Pulido was very good in that particular game and made his debut for our first team last weekend at home against Morelia.

Q: Can you give us some players to watch from any of the Tigres youth teams you are bringing?

DJK - I think we have some talented players, in every age group we have players that are in national team pools, but I think it would be nice for the audience to see our teams and pick their favorite players.

Q: Dallas Cup means different things to different people. Tigres has had a long history with us. How are the players selected for this tournament and how important is it to them?

We have teams in 4 age groups and we take the tournament as a very important part of their development, competing, traveling, a different culture...all helps these players to make steps forward. Also for us it is important to see where our players stand, judge their qualities in different circumstances and see how we can help them move forward. The club takes Dallas Cup very serious and the players know this is a great experience and important event.

Q: The Tigres Super Group opponents in Group C are Hotspurs, Japanese National Team and Dallas Texans. Are you familiar with the some of the talents on these teams?

DJK - I have seen Tottenham and Japan on Copa Chivas in different years and both are very strong teams, with extremely talented and fit players. Dallas Texans is a very well known club and has home advantage, no easy opponents for us!


Daniel Robertson said...

Great stuff!

Anonymous said...

Dennis is a great guy... He is one the best youth development directors in Northern America. He did a great job in Chivas USA and Chivas de Guadalajara.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dennis, we hear Tigres is doing good with their youth teams and we miss you here; please send a few players back...

Post a Comment