A few weeks ago, Riley Swarts completed a move to KRC Genk in Belgium.
Born in 2008, Swarts started playing football at the tender age of five with the Randburg Football Club. Four years later, the striker made the U10 Rand Central District team in his native South Africa.
In early 2019, he moved to the Netherlands with his father who got a job opportunity in Europe. After a successful trial, the attacker joined Scharn Voetbal (a community Team in Maastricht) until the end of the 2018/19 season.
At the start of the 2019/20 campaign, Swarts moved to Visé Football Club which is across the border in Belgium. He played there for the entire season and got scouted by the Standard Liége provincial scouts who wanted him to train and play in their district team.
Due to the tricky travel schedule, his parents decided that the young talent must instead join the local team MVV Maastricht whom he had also impressed during a trial. Swarts is currently playing at MVV until the end of the current season.
Towards the end of 2020, a video of the youngster juggling a ball live on national television made headlines on social media which led to him attracting wide interest from clubs across Europe.
Scouts from Genk noticed him during a game and they called his parents to bring him for trials. Genk is 25 minutes away from Maastricht so the player can manage to travel to daily training sessions. Before signing for the Belgian giants, he went there for five trial sessions which led to them finally registering him for 2021/22 season.
Swarts lives in the Netherlands with his 17-year-old brother Pharrell who plays as a midfielder for MVV’s youth teams. His father Lionel Swarts is the guiding mentor for the boys and his journey that led to him leaving his home two years ago has opened doors for his children.
Riley attends school in a Dutch school-based in Maastricht which has helped him to be able to speak the local language fluently.
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By Prince Sobayeni