Youth in Focus: Denis Genreau

Dennis Genreau has done a lot to prove himself since he became a part of the Melbourne City family in 2015.

The central midfielder has become a stalwart member of Head of Academy Joe Palatsides’ sides since he arrived at the City Football Academy; earning one of six A-League scholarships on offer at the club, regularly starting at youth level and often pulling on the captain’s armband in both the NPL and Y-League.

The 18-year-old has also made four appearances for City’s A-League side in his time at the CFA, most recently playing 10 minutes against Sydney FC in round 20 of the 2017/18 season.

Genreau, however, has also been making waves off the pitch as of late, graduating from Melbourne’s prestigious Scotch College and being accepted into the Arts degree program at the University of Melbourne, which will commence in July.

These efforts in the classroom were recognised at City’s Player of the Year Awards on Monday night, with Genreau named the recipient of the La Trobe University Education Award.

Genreau says that regardless of his blossoming football career education has always been important to him, with the youngster often going above and beyond to ensure that he kept up with his education:

“I was in year 12 last year when I was doing pre-season with Warren [Joyce],” Genreau said

“I also had to do exams in Vietnam when I was in the Aussie team, that was quite a difficult thing because my flights got delayed so I didn’t get much sleep before my exams.

“But I think that balancing of school and football, I think that was quite difficult for me as well. Without the support of my parents [Sophie and Marc Genreau], I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“I think it’s very important to have something else on the side of football. It helps me train better to have my mind, to distract myself, especially when you’ve had a bad day or something. When you get to go to school in the afternoon, see friends and learn something I think it’s very important; it gets your mind off a difficult day”

The juggling act between football and academics is a difficult one, but Genreau explains that City’s youth coaches and football department have made certain to help him acheive it:

“I think they’ve [City] been very, very, good,” he said

“They’ve given me a lot of support in finishing my schooling. Especially [Melbourne City Director of Football] Michael Petrillo; if I ever needed to miss a training session to do an exam or anything he’d always say no problem, he’d let me train in the youth team in the afternoon, so he’s been really supportive, as is the rest of the club”

Whilst he, of course, identifies a long career in professional football as his immediate career goals, Genreau admits he has given thought to a potential career path after football.

“My goal is to play professional football for as long as I can,” he explains

“But I’m really interested in sociology and politics. In that arts degree I’ll be doing you can do a lot of different things, so I think I might go into sociology or politics. I feel like I’m quite good with people, so I think maybe working as a primary school teacher or as a coach would be really interesting.”