Who is Kelvin de Lang, Ajax’s new head scout? ‘Has worked his way up handsomely’
Anyone who looks up Kelvin de Lang on the Internet will not find a whole lot of information about Ajax’s new head scout. He was a scout for the English top club Manchester City for many years, is the husband of former top hockey star Ellen Hoog and wrote a cookbook together with Hoog a few years ago.
Other than that, there is not a whole lot more to him and he will be a big unknown to many. “That’s not him though,” assures business mentor Humphrey Nijman. “In the soccer world a lot of people know his name.”
Nijman saw the 42-year-old De Lang play soccer years ago in the amateurs and then dropped his name to Telstar. A career in professional soccer never materialized, however. De Lang did, however, get his coaching papers and was active as a youth coach at HFC Haarlem early this century. After studying sports marketing at the Johan Cruyff University in Amsterdam, Nijman sought contact with De Lang.
“I needed a scout at my company Football Mix B.V. and was looking for someone with a lot of knowledge and who could build a network. He did an excellent job of that for several years. He is a very correct guy and very pleasant to work with.”
Period at Manchester City
After working at Doyen Sports Investment Group for several years, De Lang joined Manchester City in 2017. There he focuses primarily on scouting youth. He does this mainly in the Netherlands and the Benelux countries.
“He did very well there,” knows Nijman, who is still in touch with De Lang. “He worked his way up there quite nicely. First he was a youth scout. For example, he once came to my office to express City’s interest in Jorrel Hato. We always still have contact like that.”
After a period as a youth scout, De Lange was later at City also involved in “scouting off” (the final stage in the scouting process of a player, ed.) and was involved with sister club Lommel SK and renting players to it. In the last year, De Lang worked directly under technical director Txiki Begiristain.
Nijman is therefore not surprised that Ajax ended up with De Lang in the search for a new head scout. “The moment Henk Veldmate left it was one and one is two for me. I think it was an excellent choice.”
“Kelvin has an excellent network, and that’s incredibly important of course. It’s golden for a club if you can have someone with City’s database. He knows about everything. He is also ambitious. That is necessary for such a responsible position,” Nijman said.
De Lang himself did not yet want to comment on his appointment at Ajax.