Following his visit to Melbourne Ben will also fly to players at clinics in Perth, Sydney and New Zealand in June before returning to Italy in 15-29th July to help staff Genova International’s now much sought after scouted pre-season over 18’s tour: for players looking for a start in the European soccer world or players out of contract and looking for their next Club. (see http://www.issgenova.com/au/index.php)
None of GISS’s players were born when the Jamaican, Ben Johnson (now 51) , reached the peak of his sprinting career but none of them are in any doubt of the importance of speed and fitness in today’s competitive football.
The young players come to GISS’s Thornbury campus to supplement their Club training (Club training is usually by well intentioned parents/club volunteers) with the highly qualified professional coaching that Genova International School of Soccer’s offers, also enabling them to train more regularly.
They also come for the opportunities that GISS offers young Australian players keen to start a professional career in Europe.
Some might be surprised to see Ben Johnson coaching footballers because even in the sports world, not many people know that before and after a career in athletics, he played football in Toronto Link Canadian team semi-professionally and it was that love of football that led him to become an athletic trainer.
Older and wiser since his sprinting career, Ben explains:
“I’ve been doing this job for fifteen years in Canada. I've coached athletes across football, basketball and women's football, in addition to athletics, of course. Few know that I actually helped Maradona lose forty kilos so he could return to playing and coaching."
Morris Pagniello, Genova director, said: “We invited Ben to join Genova Interational School of Soccer last year to share his experience as atheletics coach with young GISS players worldwide because he has a lot of knowledge to share and is a very inspiring mentor as well as highly trained and experienced coach.”
To date Johnson has been working directly with the mostly Australian and Canadian GISS Players in the Overseas Program in Italy who get daily intensive training and introduction to the European environment pending player placement by GISS Director, Morris Pagniello. Ben has also been visiting GISS graduates now playing further afield in Italian and European Teams.
Players interested in attending should call 1300 793 505 for further information.