Remembering My Past
It's the first time I've been so happy in years. After getting my first ever coaching badge, I can finally start doing what I love, managing a football club. Who am I you ask? My name is Mats Kool and I was born in Rotterdam on the 23rd of July in 1994. An only child to my then 34 year-old father, Arthur Kool, a fitness coach at a semi-professional club. I never met my mother, Daphne, as she perished moments after I was born due to heart failure but I heard many good stories from my father. He always took me to work with him, as I was too young to be left alone. Even though vaguely, I still remember my dad showing 5 year old me his job. That was when I knew what I would do with my life. I loved, and still do, playing football but I was fascinated with the work of the manager, Ben Dirkx. My dad was good friends with him so when my father was showing the drills to the players, Ben taught me everything about football. He showed me how he comes up with his tactics, the instructions he gives to the players and how every player had a part to play in his team.
Moving on a few years, I went on to learn about football in a national level as the only team I watched until then was the one my father and Ben were employed at. Born in Rotterdam, there were quite a few teams based here. Most people supported Feyenoord and some even Sparta Rotterdam. The team that I found fascinating though was S.B.V. Excelsior or just Excelsior as they were most commonly known. My father was a season ticket holder since before I was born, but he stopped going to the club's matches for a couple of years as he had to take care of me all by himself. When he decided I was old enough, he got us both season tickets in the late start of the 03/04 season, around November. The first ever match he took me at was against Sparta Rotterdam, Excelsior's rivals. The match finished 1-0 in favour of Excelsior after Danny Buijs, the now FC Groningen manager, scored what proved to be the winner at the 30th minute. The atmosphere was amazing at the then Stadion Woudestein, the smallest stadium ever in the Eredivisie. That club is the reason I started loving football as a whole and one day I hope I will be able to lead it to glory.
The next few years went by quite fast. My life was quiet and school was going good. Excelsior suffered relegations, but also achieved promotions. Shortly after I started attending university life hit my family. Bob, the manager and friend of my father, came to our house and informed us that the club my dad and him worked for had been dismantled. From what he told us the owner didn't even tell him why. But all we knew was that more than 20 people were suddenly unemployed. Thankfully my dad found a job as a waiter at a local restaurant and even took a loan so he could still (barely) pay my tuition fees and keep us fed. I insisted on getting a part-time job but my father refused. He wanted me to study and so I did. After 4 years of hard work and sweat, I got where I am right now. Looking directly at my coaching license and being really excited about starting management in football.