It was at this time that Rick was also invited to represent the KNVB (Royal Dutch Soccer Association) where he started playing for his district of Sittard/Geleen, followed in quick succession by the KNVB representative teams of South-Limburg, the province of Limburg, the region of South-Holland, eventually becoming one of the country's best U16-18 players.
At the age of 19 mononucleosis struck hard and Rick was bedridden for 5 months but still managed to graduate that year from the top level Dutch High School at St. Michiel Gymnasium in Geleen. After going to the University of Maastricht to study Law in 1991 Rick turned down the offer from Fortuna Sittard to return to the professional level and focused on becoming a Master in Law which he achieved in 1997 when he received his degree.
After moving to the States at age 24 Rick started coaching youth soccer. Having played semi-professionally for the Arizona Sahuaros for a few more seasons he has now been working in the valley since 1997 as a full-time professional coach and enthusiastically fulfilling his life's purpose; helping kids succeed in life through the medium of soccer.
In 2004 Rick became Director of Coaching in which capacity he has been successfully leading and professionalizing AZ youth soccer clubs towards bigger growth and more competitive levels.
Dutch Soccer Institute was created in 2009 to more effectively fulfill our mission, impact more kids, and help them grow-through the microcosm of life that is soccer- into the very best human beings and soccer players they can possibly become.
Rick's experience includes playing the game since 1977 (including eight years at the professional level in Holland 1986-1991 and in the USA 1999-2001), coaching since 1996 at various levels (club, ODP, international-, advanced-, and residential camps, private training, high school), and leading AZ youth soccer clubs as Director of Coaching since 2004. He was closely mentored into the art of coaching for 5 years and licensed into the globally respected Coerver Coaching Method by former England/Arsenal forward and World Cup player Paul Mariner. Coerver Coaching is widely endorsed by the best-known names in the game. For more information Google 'Pyramid of Player Development' or visit www.coerver-coaching.com .
Rick was born in Holland where he started playing soccer for local amateur club SV Haslou at age 5. After playing 'up' two years all through his formative years he got scouted in 1986 and moved to then Dutch Eredivisie club Fortuna Sittard BVO where he would spend the following five years, two of which as captain, playing for the club's U16, U18, and Reserve Teams.
Rick Tilmans, Founder and Director of DSI
"Confidence, Composure, Creativity"