Meet Youth Academy Coach Dave Smits

The Dutch Lions Youth Academy is known for it’s great coaching and the development of young players.  The Academy coaching staff consists of all professionally licensed coaches, all of which are European trained UEFA licensed coaches or current professional players.


We want to introduce you to one of our Dutch Lions Youth Academy trainers, Dutch professional coach Dave Smits. In the past, Dave was with the Dutch Lions Academy as coach of the U9, U10, and U18 Boys Academy teams.  Dave is currently the trainer for our U13 Girls Premier Team, he will add the U16 Premier team in the Winter/Spring, and is also the Team Manager/Assistant Coach for the Men’s Professional USL Team.


Born on August 18, 1975 in Soesterberg, Dave grew up in Holland, playing for several Dutch clubs and also on the KNVB U17 Youth Development Team.  Dave has the UEFA C License (issued by the KNVB (Dutch Soccer Federation), he is a certified Coerver Technique trainer, and also has KNVB (Dutch National) certification in the Functions of Defense and Attack.  He has 20 years of coaching experience of clubs in the Netherlands, from U8 up until Men’s first teams and has also spent some time in the USA before Dayton, working for ‘SoccerCenters’ in New Jersey training all age groups of Boys and Girls.  We had the chance to sit down with coach Smits to learn more about him as a professional coach and more about him personally.


"I like it when people can make me laugh, so make me laugh and make my day." - Dave Smits

“I like it when people can make me laugh, so make me laugh and make my day.”
– Dave Smits


How long have you been with the DDL ?

About 1 year. I started in August 2012, I had a 2 month break in June and July of this year, returning to Holland for a bit, and returned 3 weeks ago.


Where did you grow up and where have you been/lived?

I grew up in Soesterberg, a little place close to Utrecht. In my hometown there we’re a lot of Americans, most of them working for the US Air force. So I grew up with all the American traditions like Halloween, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.


Who is your favorite soccer team and why? 

Barcaelona, Ajax and Tottenham Hotspurs. Barcelona for their development and playing style, Ajax has been my Dutch favorite club since day 1 and Tottenham for their history, also because one of their best players ever in history gave me his soccer jersey (David Ginola).


When playing, what position do you favor and why?

Controlling midfielder, I like to see the game and be in a position where I can steal the ball and give it to the players who are creative enough to change the game.


Who is you favorite soccer player and/or manager and why?

Lionel Messi and Louis van Gaal. Messi is a player who really enjoys the beautiful game of soccer, he is inventive and creative. Louis van Gaal for creating an Ajax team with young players and older more experience players back in the 90’s. Highlight was winning the Champions league in 1995 and winning the World cup for club teams in November 1995.


Do you have a favorite food and can you describe the taste for us?

Applebee’s sizzling fajitas. The mixture of chicken, steak with cheese, rice, lettuce and their fajita sauce rolled in a flour tortilla gives me the chills it is so good. 🙂 The taste is spicy but not so spicy that it will make you sweat.


We hear you are a big movie buff and love watching movies, what is your favorite movie and why?

Remember the Titans, Miracle and Scarface. I like true stories about achievements in sports. Remember the Titans was not only about sports, their story about coming together is incredible and a story that needs to be told. Miracle is amazing not only for their achievement of winning a gold medal at the Olympics in 1980, but it is also a great story about a great Hockey coach with all his crazy pronunciations. Scarface is great because in one story you can see the rise and fall of one man who cannot handle his power.


Where can we find you when you’re not working? What’s your favorite way to spend an off day?

Most of the time at home, although I do enjoy a day out with friends and family. I like amusement park’s so don’t look strange if you will see me at King’s Island very soon, I have been there last year and loved it. When I am at home I like to watch TV and movies. I like comedy shows.


How long have you been playing / coaching?

I started playing soccer at the age of 6 for a club and played till the age of 34. I have been coaching since the age of 17.


Can you tell us some of your personal achievements?

My biggest achievement was being part of SFOR 3 (Stabilization Force), being in the Dutch Army and able to go to Bosnia in a peace keeping force and help out as much as I can was a great experience for me. My biggest medal is the Bult Francis medal, a shooting contest in Germany for tanks which my platoon won.


Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about your family and maybe an interesting fact about yourself?

My family exists of a mom and dad, older brother and younger sister. My sister has a little boy named Luuk and he is 6 months old. So I am a very proud uncle!! I have seen a little bit of the world, this is my 4th time in the United States and before all of this I have been travelling all over Europe and I have been back packing in Australia for 8 months. My favorite moments in Australia we’re whale watching, scuba diving and being followed by a very large Kangaroo when I was hiking in Carnarvon National Park.


Dutch Lions FC U13 Girls

Dutch Lions FC U13 Girls


It was great to learn more about Youth Academy Coach Dave Smits and a special thanks to him for sharing so much with us.


We will be introducing more of the Youth Academy Coaching Staff on the website soon, be sure to look for your coach and share their stories with all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

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