High-performance coach Michiel Buursma joins Christchurch United staff

Christchurch United has recruited experienced Dutch high-performance expert Michiel Buursma to continue its quest to implement the TOVO football philosophy.

TOVO stands for the Totaal Voetbal, or Total Football, which was developed by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff and brought incredible success to Barcelona FC and Ajax Amsterdam.

Buursma has worked in player and coaching development for 13 years in the Netherlands, the United States and studied the high-performance programme at the TOVO Academy in Barcelona under Todd Beane, Cruyff’s son-in-law.

Beane visited Christchurch United last year and the Kiwi club has maintained a strong relationship with the TOVO Academy, including sending six of its youth coaches to Barcelona for a coaching development camp earlier this year. Christchurch United president Slava Meyn met Buursma during one of his visits to the TOVO Academy and invited him to New Zealand to further imbed the TOVO programme in Christchurch.
Michiel Buursma at TOVO Academy
“I have worked in many countries but never this part of the world, so the opportunity to help Christchurch United and discover New Zealand was too good to turn down,” says Buursma, who has been signed for one year as the Head of Coaching and Methology. “But at the moment I am unbound, so I may end up here for a while if things fall into place.”

The Dutchman says that his focus is to help the club’s coaches in their development and continue to build on what they learned in Barcelona.

“It is important to realise that the TOVO programme is not a simple formula of drills, but a philosophy that each coach will fill in slightly differently,” says Buursma.

He adds that each country, each club and each group of players is different, so the implementation of the programme needs to be adapted accordingly.

“I’ve already seen that Christchurch United has a really talented group of coaches here, and I am excited to see how they are all using their learnings from the TOVO Academy in a New Zealand environment.”

President Slava Meyn says he is proud that the club has been able to entice Buursma to move to Christchurch and says his appointment is yet another statement of intent for the club to invest in its players and coaches.

“Successful, small countries like Iceland, Croatia and the Netherlands have shown that good coaching is the key to creating good players.

“We will continue to look for people who can help us develop our staff to provide quality coaching, not just for one or two teams, but right across the club.”