The World Football Academy (WFA) is an initiative developed by Raymond Verheijen in collaboration with a number of leading experts in world football. The Ambassador of the World Football Academy is one of the world’s most highly respected and successful coaches of his era: Guus Hiddink.
As a youth player Raymond Verheijen 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 since 1998.
The WFA was originally founded as ‘Dutch Football Academy’ in 2009. Building on the success of this Academy and it’s football specific approach in the subsequent years three other Academies were founded in the UK (2010), South Africa and Japan (2012). To achieve further growth the Executive Team was expanded with experienced business specialist: Vincent van Driel (COO). Vincent van Driel has gained his experience in event organization, media and business development.
Nowadays the World Football Academy is active in over 20 countries at all continents.