Ange Postecoglou’s journey has laid a path for future Australian coaches to succeed in Europe

At Football Victoria’s Community in Business Full Time Luncheon event, special guests discussed Ange Postecoglou’s brilliant start at Tottenham Hotspur and explained his journey through the coaching ranks.

Postecoglou’s incredible 27-year coaching resume started at South Melbourne FC, the team he played 10 years with in the old NSL. Ange’s stint at the Roar was memorable, most notably his record-breaking 36-game unbeaten run which saw them win multiple titles during his reign.

After spending time managing the national team and Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, it wasn’t until his Celtic managerial move that contributed to the positive reputation spike of Australian managers in the world game.

The Celtic appointment was faced with lots of criticism from the Scottish media and Celtic supporters, but his success made sure that simmered down quickly. It was a huge milestone in Australian football as it was the first time an Aussie manager not only managed a major team in Europe but also won a league title in Europe.

Former South Melbourne FC player Paul Trimboli and Melbourne Victory legend Archie Thompson were on the panel that told their personal anecdotes about how he was on and off the field. This has opened up a wider discussion about Australian coaches in general and how there is quite a lack of success in that area.

Archie Thompson, who played under Postecoglou for his short stint at Melbourne Victory, spoke about his coaching style at the Community in Business event recently.

“He is a little bit difficult to read at first for sure but what I admire is how he was able to evolve. He came into Victory and changed the way he played the game from his Roar days, and it worked. We scored heaps of goals and had success,” Thompson said.

“Ange was solely focused on the team first over any individuals. It was never Thompson 1 or 2-0; it was Victory 2-0 and that’s why he has been so great. He has a knack of appreciating individuals but always keeping the team-first mentality.”

Ange’s incredible journey does paint a picture however of the struggles that Australian coaches have breaking into European football, which is increasingly becoming an issue as more Aussie coaches succeed in both the men’s and women’s game domestically and in Asia.

Gary Cole, President of Football Coaches Australia (FCA) has previously discussed in length about the significant hurdle that these coaches face, which is acquiring the UEFA pro license.

Despite Postecoglou’s deep football coaching resume, his move to Celtic could have been derailed because of the system and rules set in place in order to attain the license, which review the coach’s ability to manage a professional football team.

However, there is no doubt that Ange’s incredible journey and early Manager of the Month success at Tottenham Hotspur will open doors for fellow Aussie managers to be firstly given a chance but to also succeed in Europe.

Kevin Muscat had a small stint at Belgian club Sint-Truiden in 2020, whilst Patrick Kisnorbo managed ESTAC Troyes and became the first ever Australian manager of a team in a ‘top five’ European men’s league. Kisnorbo’s move to fellow City group club  Troyes, thanks to his success at Melbourne City, also presents as a future opportunity for A-League managers who impress.

Whilst the results from both weren’t or haven’t been fantastic, the opportunity was granted to them due to recent success and the foundation potentially laid for the future of Australian coaches in Europe. These moves only increase the validity of the A-League and Australian coaches, especially because of the long journey a lot of these managers go through just to reach that sort of level.

The future is brighter for the reputation and validity of Australian football, a country that is quickly latching on to the sport especially after Men’s and Women’s World cup successes.

Ange Postecoglou continues to shine in the Premier League and his impressive story has no doubt created its own pathway for more Australian coaches to follow with hopefully less obstacles and difficulties.

MLS NEXT: A lucrative development grant initiative for junior academies

MLS NEXT, a sub-sect of the Major League Soccer organisation, is reinvesting in North America’s junior academies through the MLS NEXT Development Grant program.

The program effectively compensates clubs for their role in producing MLS Academy and first-team players, and incentivises their future operations.

The grant has been actioned immediately, and is eligible to clubs under the MLS NEXT Elite Academies umbrella since 2020.

There are currently 143 clubs who operate within the system, and membership is expected to grow with the introduction of the grant.

The program operates differently to its community-driven grants, implementing meritocracy as the basis for grassroots investment.

MLS NEXT Elite Academies may receive Development Grant funds via one of the following scenarios:

  1. The player signs a professional contract as a Homegrown player with the MLS club he moved to from the eligible MLS NEXT Academy.
  2. The eligible player appears in a certain number of MLS matches.
  3. The eligible player is transferred for a fee from an MLS club to a non-MLS club outside of the United States and Canada.

MLS NEXT shared the first 10 recipients of the grant on X (formerly Twitter), representing a range of clubs across the continent.

Weston FC, based in South Florida, have provided several players to the academy of newly-formed Inter Miami. One of those players, Benjamin Cremeschi, graduated to Inter Miami’s first team in 2022, and represented the United States in 2023.

Weston FC technical director Luis Mendoza explained that the exposure of Cremeschi’s journey, and the funding the club is set to receive, will spur on its current and future players.

“This is going to create a reaction with the players. Everybody’s going to get better, and that’s what we want. We want all the clubs to improve,” he said via MLS NEXT media release.

“We want all the clubs to get better. That’s going to create better competition and with better competition, you accelerate the quality and the development of the players. Everybody’s going to benefit from that.”

First receivers of the MLS NEXT Development Grant Program. Taken from: https://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext/news/mls-next-development-grant-program-what-to-know-how-it-works

Speaking further about the fund, MLS NEXT General Manager Justin Bokmeyer outlined that it should positively impact the future operation of North America’s junior academies.

“This development grant should be reinvested into their player development programs, whether that’s staffing, programs – resources to ensure that they have an elite environment. Facilities, staffing, programs, training, matchday or just the access to overcome barriers to play,” he added via press release.

“This is a direct step in action to help foster those relationships and foster that trust. Elite Academies plays such an important role within MLS NEXT and within the soccer ecosystem, and we understand that.”

After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup, the U.S and MLS have made significant inroads into restructuring and revitalising its development leagues.

This includes the introduction of the MLS NEXT Pro competition, which acts as a gateway for MLS academy players to progress to the first-team and beyond [hyperlink to MLS Next Pro feature]. It also represents the first target for players of MLS Next Elite Academies.

Brokmeyer insists that MLS NEXT’s success, despite still in its infancy, is both flattering and exciting.

“The investment into player development is far and above where we thought we could have been four years ago, and so it just speaks to the growth of the league, the strength of it, how important it is to the countries’ soccer ecosystem,” he stated.

North America’s rapid football expansion will be expected to continue ahead of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup – co-hosted by the U.S, Canada, and Mexico.

Lionel Messi stars in new film by Bitget

Lionel Messi and Bitget

Bitget and Lionel Messi are teaming up once again to deliver a new film on one of the world’s biggest stars.

Having first formed the partnership in October 2022, Bitget is the only crypto exchange partner for the 2022 World Cup winner and best player of the tournament. The company themselves were established in 2018 and is now the world’s leader in cryptocurrency exchange.

Off the back of Argentina’s major international success, the film will give us a deeper understanding of who Lionel Messi is, and the determination it takes to be regarded as the greatest footballer of all time.

The 2024 film, titled #MakeItCount, is a campaign of inspiring everyone to push beyond their limits and grab every opportunity presented.

Through Messi’s own personal story and Bitget’s core values, the film promotes perseverance against all odds, any progress building upon itself, and a positive mindset no matter what.

Bitget Managing Director Gracy Chen is excited to make a difference through the film:

“Both the story of Messi and the growth of Bitget serve as a reminder that greatness is not achieved overnight, but through persistent determination to make it count,” she said via media release.

“As we continue the #MakeItCount Campaign in 2024, we remain committed to inspiring individuals, whether they are in the football and crypto sector or beyond, to pursue greatness as no dream is too big to achieve.

“Together with Messi, we are delighted to bring crypto to a bigger global stage, and drive the mass adoption of crypto and blockchain technology.”

Bitget has also outlined plans to roll out post the Messi film, hosting on-ground Football Challenge events in emerging markets around the world.

Bitget is also investing in Blockchain4Youth, a recognised charity field where local communities can get involved in football and crypto adoption, paving the way for younger generations to understand Web3, blockchain and digital assets better.

To achieve its goal of inspiring Web3 adoption, Bitget is investing $10 million in the Blockchain4Youth project over the next five years.

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