Although disappointed at not being included in the squad for this week’s under-20 World Cup in Poland, former Ajax Cape Town juniors side centre-back, Dean Solomons, 20, says the next step is to work harder for a spot in the under-23 Olympic squad set to play qualifiers for the 2020 Games in Japan.
Solomons followed in the footsteps of former Ajax Cape Town stars like Thulani Serero, Steven Pienaar and Benni McCarthy who came through the ranks at Ikamva before signing for the mother club in Amsterdam.
For now his focus is to impress for both club and country. He wished the national under-20 side heading up to the World Cup the best, saying they should play their hearts out for the country.
“They are going to meet some of the best talent from across the world, but we have the best talent right here.
“They should give everything and live everything on the field. Show them South Africa can do it,” he says.
The former Norman Henshilwood High School pupil says never giving up on and off the field has helped him to be where he is today, and, it can help many youngsters looking up to him to keep on fighting because “nothing comes easy”.
His footballing career kicked off at Ashford Football Club in Heathfield for the under-9 team when he was four years old.
He played at Ashford until he was 10 years old before being scouted by Ajax Cape Town.
At Ajax Cape Town, Solomons was approached by Ajax Amsterdam after two successful international tournaments in Amsterdam (Ter Borg and ICTG tournament). Last year, he helped Ajax Amsterdam’s under-19 team finish second in the under-19 Eredivisie.
He now plays for the under-21 side, and they finished the Keuken Kampioen Divisie (second division) in 11th position.
“I’m on vacation for four weeks but I privately keep on training. At the moment playing in the second team has been a great experience. But hopefully before 2021 I can make the first team.
“I started at Ashford and went on to get more of the basics, the “tiki-taka” and first touch at Ajax. And then I went to Ajax Amsterdam. It’s tough but fun, I have enjoyed every single moment in Amsterdam.
“To play in the second division is something else. It’s something many players in Cape Town and in the world dream of because it is where we get to break through to the first team.
“At Ajax Amsterdam they want the best out of you at every training and at every game. You have to deliver your best because if you don’t you don’t deserve to be there,” he says.
Solomons says in the near future his main goal is to make it into the Bafana Bafana squad. His father, Reginald Solomons says when they moved to Heathfield there was nothing to do so he took Dean to the soccer field.
At Ashford he was always one group above his age.
“He won Player of the Year and Player of the Season at Ashford.
“When Ajax Amsterdam scouted him he was doing his final year at Norman Henshilwood.
“Unfortunately, he could not finish his matric there but we knew that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Reginald says Dean’s grandfather was also good at soccer.
“I’m more of the music guy,” he laughed.
“People are always watching him. Youngsters in the community are watching him, saying they want to be like him.
“He has grown to become a role model and a friend. Every day I tell him to try and get to the first team, to keep his feet on the ground and to work hard.”