Phoenix Academy player rises in KRC Genk

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Monday, August 05, 2013

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YOUNG Jamaican prodigy Leon Bailey has signed a three-year Euro$2m contract with top Belgium club KRC Genk, it was announced at a recent press conference by the Craig Butler-led Phoenix Academy.

Bailey, 15, a former Kingston College student who at 12 years old walked away with three KSAFA MVP awards at the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 categories in 2010, was seen in a video signing with Genk executives.

"The main focus of this is to announce the highest ever youth transfer in Belgium by a youth player from Jamaica in Leon Bailey," claimed Butler.

Butler, whose six-year ban was lifted by the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) recently, showed videos of Bailey and Genk officials signing documents.

In that video, the Genk official told Bailey that the contract was the biggest for someone his age, and that he hoped to see him on the field soon.

According to Butler, Phoenix Academy and Genk have an arrangement to physically build an academy in Jamaica.

"We are returning home to build our academy here in Jamaica. The funds are already appropriated and we will be providing all the tools necessary for our young players," said Butler.

"We will also be developing our coaching staff and we will have one person here at all times from Genk," he added.

The prolific Bailey is just one of several Phoenix Academy players overseas hoping to secure contracts. Kevaughn Atkinson, Romario McKnight, Travis Blagrove, Kyle Butler, and Jason Wright will be joined by four players soon.

Shawn Lawes is set to have a trial with Genk as well as Standard Liege and Anderlecht. Chevonne Marsh will travel to PSV Eindhoven, Lille and Genk, while Jevaughn Hutchinson and Odane Walters will journey to Genk.

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