CORK soccer star Ethon Varian is continuing to impress with Stoke City's underage teams as he attempts to navigate his way into their first team.
The former Greenwood underage striker and St Finbarr's dual star, who captained them to a hurling Féile at U14 level, has recently made the step up to their U23 team and he netted for them lately in a league encounter.
Greenwood chairman Kieran McCoy is thrilled with his progress.
“He is flying it at the moment. He is a fantastic player. We are not surprised at all. He is playing regularly for their U23 team and he is only 19. He has a great personality and he is a great kid."
Varian was always a standout player for his beloved Greenwood, with whom he enjoyed a lot of success, and McCoy always knew he had huge potential.
“He joined Greenwood at the age of six. He always had something.
"Ethon is very mature and quiet. He just trains away and just gets on with his own business. He has a great temperament. His family are very supportive.
"Everyone involved with the Greenwood club are delighted with his progress.”
Sheffield United and Republic of Ireland defender John Egan also played his underage soccer with Greenwood, before moving across channel to join Sunderland. McCoy is proud of the role Greenwood FC are playing in helping players fulfil their huge promise.
“John was always a standout player. He was head and shoulders above everybody in his age group. He is doing so well.
"Ethon and John are great ambassadors and role models for the club.”
During lockdown, Varian returned home to his native Cork and he availed of Greenwood’s facilities to work on his sharpness and fitness. McCoy paid tribute to his dedication during the few months he was home.
“He trained so hard. We gave him a few balls and he trained away by himself. He is so dedicated. He desperately wants to achieve his dreams. He is after turning into a big man to cope with the physical nature of their league.”
Greenwood FC possess great facilities and an array of coaches designed to help young players progress and develop as soccer players.
“We are after building up nicely in the last few years. We have invested a lot in our coaching. We have about 90 young players training in our Academy every Monday night.
"We have two junior teams, an U19 team and a ladies team. We cater for a lot of members.
"We have great people doing a lot of work behind the scenes. We have great facilities. We hope to add an all-weather pitch in time.”