As a youth player Raymond Verheijen (1971) was part of the famous Dutch Academy structure. Unfortunately, the dream of a professional career ended as a chronic injury forced him to retire at the young age of 18. This disadvantage became an advantage as Verheijen got the opportunity to start his coaching career at the age of 19. As a young football coach and from a football specific perspective Verheijen studied Exercise Physiology and Sport Psychology at the Vrije University Amsterdam. He completed his Masters Degrees in 1995. He also studied at the Liverpool John Moores University in 1993-1995.
In 1995 Verheijen developed his university thesis into the book ‘Conditioning for Soccer’ which became the coach education book of the Dutch FA (KNVB) in 1997. Verheijen became a pro-licence instructor at the Dutch FA in 1998. His first course as instructor was with coaches Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman and Johan Neeskens.
In 1998 Dutch National Team manager Frank Rijkaard appointed Verheijen as one of his assistants in preparation for the EURO2000 in which Holland reached the semi final. In 2002 Guus Hiddink appointed Verheijen as his assistant to prepare South Korea for the FIFA World Cup 2002.
Verheijen has been involved in every World Cup or EURO ever since:
- EURO 2000 with Holland and Frank Rijkaard (semi final)
- World Cup 2002 with South Korea and Guus Hiddink (semi final)
- EURO2004 with Holland & Dick Advocaat (semi final)
- World Cup 2006 with South Korea and Dick Advocaat
- EURO2008 with Russia & Guus Hiddink (semi final)
- World Cup 2010 with Korea (last 16)
- EURO2012 with Russia & Dick Advocaat
- World Cup 2014 with Argentina (final)
Verheijen has also been involved with:
- World Cup Under 20 in Argentina (2001) with Holland and Louis van Gaal (quarter final)
- Women’s EURO2009 in Finland with Holland and Vera Pauw (semi final)
At club level Verheijen has been working as a football conditioning consultant with European giants like Glasgow Rangers, Barcelona (Champions League 2006), Zenit St Petersburg (UEFA Cup 2008), Chelsea (FA Cup 2009) and Manchester City.
In 2006 Verheijen moved from the Dutch FA (KNVB) to the Feyenoord Academy to become the head coach of the Feyenoord reserves and to further develop Youth Periodisation.
After publishing his first book ‘Conditioning for Soccer’ in 1998 Verheijen’s second book ‘Periodisation in Football’ was published in Holland in 2008. The English version is expected mid-2014.
In 2009 he founded the Dutch Football Academy, organising the national football conference and several courses.
In 2011, Verheijen’s coaching career entered the next phase when he became assistant manager with Wales working alongside Gary Speed. Under the tenure of this coaching team Wales became the most improved nation in the FIFA World Rankings of 2011.
This was followed by the expansion of his business towards the UK, Japan and South Africa. As a result he became CEO of the World Football Academy in 2012.