FTBL believes in the quality of Australia’s coaches. But with such a small number of A-League clubs opportunity has been frustratingly limited: Enter the second division.
While the “Championship” remains in the planning stage with a start date of around 2021 or 2022, we believe it will prove the ideal platform for our emerging talent to kick off their head coach careers in the professional national league ranks.
We also feel the league should bring in a second division coach mentor, assigned to work with all coaches given many we believe will be in their 30s when the league finally kicks off.
Jets head coach Ernie Merrick would be the perfect candidate for emerging coaches mentor roles.
His experience and respect in the industry make him the perfect candidate to work with the younger would-be stars of the future.
1: Ben Cahn: currently coaching Olympic FC in Brisbane
FTBL’s story earlier this year on the English-born former Fulham junior was one of the most-read features we’ve run.
And this young coach (early 30s) is proving you can run a professional environment at the part-time level.
Last season, he turned the Brisbane club around in the QLD NPL.
Olympic finished second in the league and made the grand final. Not a bad first season.
Olympic FC is also looking a danger side from the NPL in the 2019 FFA Cup, further validation of Cahn’s growing reputation following their Round of 32, 5-2 win over Bayswater earlier this month.
With a pro licence to be completed in Korea later this year, Cahn's career is shaping up with the certification and coaching experience coming together at the right time for a tilt with a professional outfit.
NPL, second division, A-League head coach and beyond?
This is a head coach going places.
2: Ruben Zadkovich: currently coaching Broadmeadow Magic in Newcastle
Like Cahn, Zadkovich takes a holistic, enlightened and thorough approach to the role of coach at NPL level, where he brings a professional environment to a part-time structure.
This isn’t an old-fashioned, bark-orders boss.
He's one of the new breed who understand players in the modern era. After all, he could still be playing had it not been for terrible injuries.
“Zadko” has fine-tuned his methods and has found extraordinary success in a short time with the club after injury scuppered his playing career here and abroad (he also played for Derby County).
Magic won the Grand Final in 2018, and a Macedonian Cup.
Zadkovich's men also scored the most goals, had the highest number of clean sheets and made the last 16 of the FFA Cup.
He’s been mentored by Kenny Lowe and has the experience of being coached by Graham Arnold as a player.
The former Socceroo, now 33 has taken to coaching very quickly and has to be given a chance.
The second division will be Zadkovich's professional platform for a great future here and abroad.