SIGMA FC's Johnny Grant heads to KRC Genk for extended training Period
SIGMA FC defender Johnny Grant is currently on an extended training period with Belgian soccer powerhouse KRC Genk. Grant, 20, plays right back for SIGMA FC in League1 Ontario. While in Belgium, Grant will train with Genk's First Team and Reserves. "Johnny has an excellent mentality and work ethic on the pitch and has remained focused on personally improving his game on a consistent basis," said Smyrniotis. "His time in Belgium will only enhance his current level and we look forward to him having the success that will lead to a permanent move on the continent"
Genk has monitored Grant's progress over the past year, part of a partnership between SIGMA and the European club that has resulted in other training opportunities for SIGMA players in the past year.
The Pickering, Ont. native has been training in the SIGMA system since he was 15. According to SIGMA Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis, Grant is a good example of how Canadian trained players can keep improving and developing in the late teens.
Smyrniotis says Grant's biggest asset is the ability to be a threat going forward. "From a position aspect he is everything you would want as a coach as a right back. He is technically very good, has speed, strength and is a good 1v1 defender."
KRC Genk is one of Belgium's top clubs and has produced many players currently starring in the world's best leagues. Some of the stars that have emerged from its development system include Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne who were sold to Premier League club Chelsea, and Christian Benteke who was sold to Aston Villa. Earlier this year, three players from SIGMA's academy - Corey Marques ('98), Marcel Zajac ('98) and Michael Matic ('97) - spent time at Genk on a training period. Top youth coaches from the Genk youth academy have participated in SIGMA's annual international ID camps held every July in Mississauga, and these moves cement a growing partnership between the two clubs.