Victorian NPL 2 outfit Langwarrin SC pulled off a huge coup by signing Scott Miller to lead them in 2019. After all, he’s worked with Fulham, the Socceroos and in the A-League and Danish SuperLiga.
For the “Langy” squad they are literally being retrained to think and work like professionals ahead of their NPL2 East season in Victoria.
The semi-pro lads are currently undergoing their most intense and eye-opening pre-season under the 37-year-old former Newcastle Jets boss, who is giving them the benefit of over 10 years at the highest level of coaching in three countries.
Former Chile-based centre forward Rodrigo Covarrubias told Langy TV: “Honestly, he’s different to any coach I’ve had. Every session is done with intent. It’s really intense.
“It’s done to the best of our ability. And it’s benefited everyone, every session is sharp. We’re getting the most out of it.”
Langwarrin midfielder Kane Bentley added: “You can see his expertise and knowledge. I’ve already learned heaps from him."
But why Langwarrin? And why now for Miller?
It’s all part of his ingenious plan to recalibrate his career on and off the park at the club he played for as a junior.
“I don’t see football as being relative to any status [in terms of leagues]. As a coach, I need to continually learn. I don’t use the word challenge as regards to Langwarrin.
“I see the club as a fantastic football club. Great people.
“Our ambition isn’t just to perform well but to recruit well. Part of my role too is to improve professionalism, the standards and understand where I’m at as a coach.
“It’s about implementing a strategy and learning how players at this level learn and how to affect them. It’s a great experience for me, I’m really enjoying it.
“And at this level, a big part of football is fun and enjoyment. And sometimes that can get lost at the elite level because of the performance or relative performance and the win/lose/draw stats.”
And for the season opener, Miller will have an A-League reunion of sorts when Melbourne City visit Lawton Park Reserve on February 16.
Miller may be the most versatile coach in the country.
He arrived 10 years ago as an ambitious 26-year-old, who worked his way up in Fulham’s set up from the academy to the first team fitness coach to a dual role of fitness/assistant coach.
The Victorian was based in London with the Cottagers for 10 years. It was a huge learning curve at a club that was in the English Premier League for nine of those 10 seasons.
Miller then worked briefly in the Socceroos set up in late 2013 (“having Ange’s backing gave me such confidence”), before being head coach at Newcastle Jets aged just 33 (where he was sacked in 2016 after one season following an ownership change).
He then became an assistant coach in Denmark (at Aalborg in 2016-2017) where the standard may have been higher than the A-League, says Miller, “but the role wasn’t enough of a challenge for me.”
He grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, and with coaching Langwarrin it has brought greater balance to his life by worker closer to his own family. He’s also running his own football academy (www.identitiypro.com.au) based on the Peninsula.
“Family was important to me after spending so much time overseas," the UEFA A and AFC Pro diploma coach told FTBL. "To see that family relationship reconnecting, and to reconnect with friends in Melbourne has been important.
"But for me over the next six to 12 months, it’s time to transition back into elite football with what I learned in the English Premier League and the A-League.
“Although my pathway is different to say a Tony Popovic or a Graham Arnold, the processes of working through all levels of a football department and gradually being promoted supported my learning curve.
“The pathway doesn’t have to be one of being a former Socceroo. There are different ways of achieving your ambitions in coaching.
“And my ambition is to become a head coach. I’d like to get back into the A-League. But it’s about timing with the right people and right club.
“It’s amazing what being sacked does to your mentality. One thing I take away from being sacked at the Jets is the positivity. You learn so much about yourself and the challenges of being a head coach.
“But I’m ready. I stepped back into Langwarrin to inspire myself again. To see if I was still interested in coaching. And it’s certainly done that.”