It was not an easy choice for 19-year-old Louis Coeckelbergs, but the midfielder nevertheless gave in and exchanges the promises of the Dutch Willem II for the A-core of KFC Turnhout. “It’s time for adult football”, the resident of Weelde defends his choice.
Last season, Coeckelbergs had a semi-pro contract with the promises of Willem II. “I was able to extend that agreement by one season and I had many conversations with Robby Hendriks, the manager of the youth academy of the Tilburg club. However, I did not receive any guarantees to train with Willem II’s A squad and the contract I had wasn’t really that much. I did not renew that agreement. From 2009 to 2013 I played in the youth of KFC Turnhout, my brother Jef and my cousin Rico won promotion last season and I know almost the entire team. I saw many home matches of KFC Turnhout and during the final round match against Torhout I was in the stands in the front row and enthusiastically supported. Promotion was a must for me.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot and making phone calls over the past few weeks. (laughs) Critics may find my decision a step backwards, but I myself feel it was time to play in the A-team. There was also interest from other clubs. I am happy with my choice and the return to KFCT. Moreover, I can perfectly combine playing football at Turnhout with my education in economics and business economics at Tilburg University. In those nine seasons with the youth and the promises of Willem II, I have laid an excellent foundation. For the past few years I trained six times a week. They can no longer take that experience away from me. I learned an awful lot. I used to be an attacking midfielder, but in the last three seasons I moved to the number six position. That does not mean that I can handle all positions in midfield.”
Become a basic player
On Monday, July 18, Tibor Balog, the new trainer of KFC Turnhout, will start preparing for the new season. “I had a short conversation with him and today (yesterday, ed.) we came together with the entire group of players to look at the planning. It certainly doesn’t get any easier in that series. The opposition is stronger and it will no doubt get faster. With our young group we may lack some experience, but with our youthful enthusiasm and the large margin of progression that is still there, we are armed for a good season. All players start from scratch and for myself my biggest goal is to become a basic player”, concludes Louis Coeckelbergs, who will turn twenty next month.