Behind the scenes: KRC Genk Youth Academy

KRC Genk: Kevin de Bruyne

The best example of KRC Genk’s youth academy is a current star of Manchester City: Kevin de Bruyne. “Sometimes you could slap Kevin around the head because he didn’t listen. The special ones with extra talent have their own vision and he went on to do very well, of course. He’s a special one.”, Koen Daerden said (technical director of KRC Genk youth academy). Other talents of the ‘Jos Vaessen Talent Academy’ are Thibaut Courtois, Christian Benteke, Koen Casteels en Dennis Praet.

Education first
The youth academy of KRC Genk is located in the east of Belgium close to the border of The Netherlands. Different age groups are developing themselves at this place to become the pride of KRC Genk’s youth academy. For example, all the U8 players are using a ‘Kickmaster’ during practices in order to train their touch, coordination, balance and technique. Moreover, education is really important for the youth academy. The club has connections with the schools which the players are attending. Daerden says: “For example, if there’s a guy whose attitude isn’t good and the school results are bad then he won’t play at the weekend or even train throughout the week, he’ll be forced to do extra school work.”

It’s not about the latest trends
Back to the pitch, the ball is a crucial factor in every drill. The coaches emphasize smooth one touch passing moves which improves the way of finishing. Throughout the academy, the coaches are patient with physically small players. Number one scouting criteria are the level of football mind and technique. The way of education is to develop players who are able to play in every system. Meanwhile, the philosophies and principles remain unchanged. It is crucial for players to recognise when and where they need to move during and without possession of the ball. Another principle for all the academy players is to wear black boots. The idea is that players have to express themselves by playing football and not by wearing the latest trends.

KRC Genk helping

No place for braggers
As soon as the practice is finished, all the players have to collect the cones, mannequins and equipment. There is no place for young players who think they have already made it to early. The core of the ‘Jos Vaessen Talent Academy’ is to develop and believe in education and football. Only the players who work really hard will get a chance to play for the first team. At the end, all the players want to become the new ‘Kevin de Bruyne’.


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Source: Caño Football


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