Kyan Vaesen: “Het Leerlabo provided excellent guidance.”
Why did you choose Het Leerlabo? How did you end up there?
When I had to start the fourth year of secondary school, I moved from Heusden-Zolder to Tessenderlo. This meant that I had to look for another school.
I had the choice to go to school in my neighbourhood. I could also choose to go to school near KVC Westerlo, where I was a youth player at that moment.
Five boys from my team were in Daltonatheneum Het Leerlabo and they explained the school to me. They convinced me to choose Het Leerlabo.
How did you experience the combination of school and football?
Very good. We had football training twice a week in the morning at KVC Westerlo. Afterwards, we returned to school and were guided for an hour to make tasks or to study. Afterwards, we ate something.
Then we had to go back to KVC Westerlo to train with our team. So on days like that, I was busy with football for almost a whole day.
What did you think of the guidance during your time as a student at Het Leerlabo?
I thought the guidance was very good. Het Leerlabo offers dalton education, so the school let us work independently.
For example, if I had a match on Monday evening with the youngsters of KVC Westerlo, I could leave school in the afternoon. That was all perfectly organised.
Are the three Dalton pillars (cooperation, responsibility, independence) that Het Leerlabo taught you also important in football?
Yes, for sure. You definitely need these pillars as a footballer.
When you continue your studies at college, especially now with the online classes, these three Dalton pillars will certainly be useful too. It’s really positive that we’ve learned this.
How do you look back on your time at Het Leerlabo?
I had a very nice time in Het Leerlabo. I also had a very nice class. I had a lot of fun, but it just a very good school.
Are you still studying in college? Or have you followed an additional education?
I am taking the Sport and Culture Management programme at Thomas More. That is a distance education programme. All the lessons are recorded beforehand so that I can watch them whenever I want, at my own pace. The exams are also completely online.
Many top athletes follow this programme. It is a good combination of top-class sport and higher education.
Was it always your dream to become a professional footballer?
Yes, this was my dream from a very young age. Since I have been playing at KVC Westerlo, it is really a goal to be able to play here in ’t Kuipje.
What advice do you have for young footballers who are still in school and dream of becoming professional footballers?
School is important, you can’t neglect it. A football career can end quickly, so you have to have something up your sleeve. If you don’t pay attention to your schoolwork, you will also get into trouble in football.
KVC Westerlo anticipated this by limiting the number of playing minutes to youth players with attitude problems at school. In this way, KVC Westerlo stimulated their school discipline.