SIGMA FC's Jonathan Agostino is beginning the next stage of his soccer career at the same Italian club that legendary Azzuri strikers Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio got their start.

Agostino was signed to play for the youth team at Vicenza Calcio of the Italian Serie B.

"I've had a great start and pre-season with Vicenza Calcio. The level of soccer, coaching, and and facilities are terrific," he said in an e-mail from Italy. "I'm really enjoying it."

The training foundation he received at SIGMA prepared him for the professional environment, both "on and off the field," he said.

"It was a soccer environment similar to what I am experiencing here. It has really helped me get to where I am."

He's been with the club since September, and according to father Vince Agostino, he's adjusted well to his new surroundings.

"If the boys don't meet expectations during training, they are asked to step aside and work on their own, so the players that will appear in the game can work on tactics," explained Vince, who is a Mississauga sports physiotherapist.

"And Jonathan is feeling pretty good because the whole time he has been there, he has never been asked to sit out of training,"

Vicenza has a rich history in Italian soccer, having spent long stretches in Serie A since the 1970s. A young Rossi, who would eventually score the winning goal for Italy at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, led Vicenza in scoring in the 1975 season before moving on to star for Juventus and Milan. Baggio, another Italian superstar, started his career at Vincena in 1982, and helped the team earn promotion to Serie A in 1985. He eventually moved on to Fiorentia, and later Juventus and Milan. Baggio starred for Italy in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

Sigma FC Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis is happy that Agostino has the opportunity to take his game to the next level.

"He's a technically strong attacking midfielder, and is a very good 1 v. 1 player," said Smyrniotis. "He'll be challenged, but he is doing well over there. They've committed to him for a year, and they will re-evaluate from there."

Agostino spent last season with Sigma's B1 squad, and has been a member of the Sigma famliy for the past three season.