Nearly four months after quitting Central Coast Mariners, miracle working coach Alen Stajcic remains “open to anything” as he plots his next career project.
The ex-Matildas mentor took the perennial wooden spooners to a third place finish last season in a feat which superseded all expectations.
The fact he’s still without a job comes as a surprise, but Stajcic told FTBL he’s staying patient.
“I’m really open to looking at anything. My family and I are ready to go wherever the best opportunity takes us, whether that’s at home or overseas.
“I haven’t limited myself to anything (be it the men’s or women’s game).
“I’ve been spending time at home with the kids during the lockdown in Sydney.
“After working 25 years straight as a full time coach it’s been nice to sit back and reflect over the past few months, and have a bit of time off.”
Stajcic - whose controversial dismissal as Matildas coach in 2019 was met with widespread indignation - accepted the seemingly poisoned Mariners chalice later that year.
He departed after their A-League finals exit against Macarthur, having restored faith in the battling club.
It’s understood his decision to go was based on the limited resources at his disposal to affect further progression.
Stajcic, though, is staying diplomatic.
“I had a great time there and it was a very successful year,” he said in reference to last season.
“I can only be complimentary of everything that happened at the Mariners.
“Certainly it was a tough environment but the players and staff there were probably the best
I’ve worked with, so there are lots of happy memories.
“We achieved a lot with very little, and I think there’s a good platform there at head office and also with fan engagement.
“There were a couple of times we got over 10,000 and the core group of players are still there.
“A lot of the kids who came through are also ready for a bit more game time, so I’m pretty happy with what we achieved and what we’ve left Monty (Nick Montgomery) to continue on with.
“We mixed it up with the big boys (beating champions Melbourne City and Sydney FC during the season) and showed we could compete with the best in the league.”
Despite an indifferent start to Tony Gustavvson’s reign as Matildas coach -
eight defeats, two draws and two wins in his 12 games in charge - Stajcic believes they will still flourish at the 2023 Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Two friendlies against Brazil next month will provide further evidence of the trajectory they’re heading in under the Swede. Regardless of that, Stajcic sees plenty of upside.
“They reached the semi-finals at the Olympics and a large chunk of that group have been together now for 10 or 12 years,” he said.
“There are a lot of players now reaching over 100 caps or towards that figure.
“There's a lot of good chemistry and talent in the squad and they’re going to have a good shot at the World Cup."
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