Ajax to hire coach Maurice Steijn from Sparta Rotterdam to replace John Heitinga

AP , Friday 16 Jun 2023

Ajax is hiring “overperformer” Maurice Steijn as its new coach to replace John Heitinga, whose contract was not extended after the Amsterdam club finished a disappointing third in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Maurice Steijn
Ajax German director of football affairs Sven Mislintat (L) and Ajax new Dutch head coach Maurice Steijn (R) attend a press presentation in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on June 14, 2023. Photo: AFP

 

The club said Wednesday the 49-year-old Steijn will sign a three-year deal to join from Sparta Rotterdam, which he led to sixth place in the Eredivisie this season after rescuing it from relegation trouble a season earlier. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Steijn said he was a little surprised at getting the offer from the biggest club in Dutch soccer.

“I didn’t expect Ajax to come to me this year,” he told reporters.

He wants his Ajax team to stay true to the club's traditional values.

“With Ajax you look for a combination of winning and great soccer,” he said.

In the past, Steijn has coached Dutch clubs ADO The Hague, VVV-Venlo, NAC Breda and Sparta as well as Al-Wahda in the United Arab Emirates.

“At all the clubs he worked for, results exceeded expectations," said Ajax Director of Football Sven Mislintat. “So he has shown multiple times with his teams that he is a real overperformer. He is ready for a step up, I’m sure of that.”

Heitinga replaced Alfred Schreuder, who replaced Erik ten Hag but was fired in January after only half a season at the Dutch powerhouse following a string of seven matches without a victory.

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