Arden Hogan swaps City for Dutch giants Feyenoord during busy off season
While plenty of players have been relaxing after a long, and successful season at Brisbane City, at least one of our junior players has been breaking new ground overseas as he continues his footballing journey.
Arden Hogan earned the right to trial at the world famous Feyenoord club in Rotterdam over the September school holidays after catching the eye of some scouts at a camp here in Brisbane during the Easter holidays.
“The camp was great fun,” Arden said.
“It was held at Marist Brothers Ashgrove School over Easter and one player was selected to be sent to the Netherlands to go and trial, and after the camp I found out it was me.”
Arden and his mother were flown over to Europe to trial with Feyenoord at their Rotterdam training base – and the pair hit the ground running right from the off.
Saturday morning was spent watching the under 11’s play a match, before heading to De Kuip to watch the Eredivisie team play FC Utrecht on the Sunday, along with 50,000 other fans.
“There was no referee in the under 11’s match,” Arden explained. “The players themselves manage the game.”
“The game on Sunday was amazing.” Arden said.
“It rained during the game, but the stadium was still packed. Feyenoord played FC Utrecht and former Arsenal player Robin van Persie scored the only goal for Feyenoord to win with just minutes left in the game.”
During the week, the hard work began for Arden, with three, three hour sessions with the under 11 squad on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
“We did training under coach Martin de Vries and the football talent scout who arranged my trial,” Arden explained.
“Then, the Serbian coach of Under 15 team, Luca Liliac had me for a one-on-one session on the Tuesday.”
Arden slotted into the sessions well, but noticed the difference in what the coaches were asking for straight away.
“There were probably a few less kids there in the sessions than we have in Australia, but it was just their way of training was a bit different.” Arden explained.
“They weren’t stricter, but they were doing different types of drills. I learnt a lot.”
By trialling at one of the best academies in western Europe, with, by definition, some of the best young players the area has to offer, it would have perhaps been expected that Arden would be slightly intimidated, but the truth was far from that as Arden impressed his coaches and the other players.
“The players were very skilful.” Arden admitted.
“I felt out of place in a way, not my skill level really but in that I’m from a completely different country to them.” Arden said.
“It felt really nice to be at the same skill level as people from different countries. When I’m older they might be much better than Australian players, but it was good that I could keep up with them.”
He didn’t only keep up with them, Arden excelled in the Netherlands.
Feyenoord had never scouted a young international player from so far away before, and the scouts were under pressure to justify the outlay the club had made on this young player from Australia.
And Arden did not disappoint, playing incredibly well and slotted into the team almost immediately.
All the coaches, three of which ran each session per team, were particularly impressed by his ability to adapt to his new surroundings, skill, and game play at such a young age .
They were so impressed, they are keen to have Arden back.
“There is still a lot to be discussed but it was very positive and I know I made my coach who selected me along with the Australian management proud.” Arden said.
“I loved the opportunity and experience of my trip.”
“All the Feyenoord staff looked after us and I especially liked hanging out and talking football with Coach Luca, who told me afterwards that there was pressure from the Club on him that I played well, and that I was worthy of the chance they paid for.
“Overall, just experiencing play with kids from the best continent in the world, was amazing, I’d really like to go back again if we can make it happen.”
In the meantime, Arden is certain that the lessons that he learnt in the Netherlands will stand him in good stead for the upcoming season with Brisbane City, and that he is a better player for the experience, regardless of what happens next.