Dynamo first-year players Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie are currently in Amsterdam as part of Major League Soccer's annual Generation adidas trip abroad. Over the course of 11 days, the 18-player squad, led by Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes and his staff, will train at the Ajax Academy and play friendlies against Ajax Reserves, FC Volendam, and Almere City FC. Bruin took some time out of his busy schedule to write a blog entry about the first few days of the trip.
My experience here has been good so far. It's been great getting to know a bunch of new guys and also to see a few familiar faces. This is my first time here and I wasn't sure what to expect. I would say, though, that it has probably surpassed my expectations on the field and as in the city.
The training sessions have been great. We have two games coming up in the next two days, so that will be a good test of what we have learned so far. It has definitely been tough getting accustomed to everyone on the team because they bring in 18 guys from all around and we are only here for 10 days. After a few training sessions, though, players are starting to catch on to each other's tendencies. The coaching staff has been great in the training sessions, giving us advice and teaching us the style that they want us to play. Having Kofi here has definitely made things a little easier. He has known some of these guys for a while, so it made it easy for me to get to know some of those guys as well.
In our free time, we have gone all over Amsterdam and have seen a lot of what the city has to offer. Overall, it's a pretty fun city. Yesterday, I took a tour of the Anne Frank house with [Sounders defender] Michael Tetteh, [Earthquakes goalkeeper] David Bingham, and [MLS videographer] Scott Riddell. It was pretty cool to see in person. The whole World War II era fascinates me, so I was really interested to see all of the artifacts they have from that house. We went up into the annex where the families had to hide. They had all the original stuff but it was just a bit touched up. They had Anne's diary as well as a few of her writings about the whole experience.
One of the highlights of my trip was definitely getting to see the Champions League match between Ajax and Real Madrid. It was an awesome experience, mostly because the atmosphere was so amazing. The fans went crazy and sang along with the Champions League anthem before the match. We also had the chance to tour the stadium, which was huge. Fans here are a little bitter and have a theory that their game was fixed. To advance to the next round of Champions League [Olympique] Lyon needed to score 7 goals and they did, while Ajax scored 2 goals that the refs called offsides that the replay showed were onside. We also had the opportunity to see the AZ Alkmaar match [featuring U.S. national team forward Jozy Altidore]. The game had a good atmosphere but you can't really compare it to the Champions League match. AZ won 4-0 so it was nice to see some goals and the AZ stadium got me really excited for the new Dynamo stadium because it was a similar size to what our stadium will be and it was sold out.
Kofi Sarkodie prepares for his bike ride around Amsterdam.