Brisbane Roar has announced that Matt Smith and Ante Kovacevic have joined the club as General Managers.
The Roar have also appointed long-serving employee Rizka Laya as General Manager – Club Services, which will effectively see Laya, Smith and Kovacevic combine as a General Manager trio going forward.
The appointments reaffirm Brisbane Roar’s commitment to adding senior executive resources to develop both the Club’s football and administration departments.
Smith will oversee marketing, communications, and membership activities in his role as General Manager – Commercial. The former Brisbane Roar captain is known for playing 112 games for the Club, including winning three Isuzu UTE A-League Championships. He also has a strong background in marketing holding a Bachelor’s in Marketing and Leisure Management from the University of Gloucestershire.
Smith also holds a Master’s in Sport Management from Hartpury University and has an extensive football development pedigree from his roles as Football Director, NPL Technical Director and First Team Head Coach at Brisbane City for the past three years.
Smith is excited to be back with the Brisbane Roar as the Club restructures.
“I was extremely privileged to be part of the Club’s amazing successes in the past and look forward to creating history in the future,” he said via press release.
“Since I left the Club in 2014, I’ve always been keeping a close eye on the team and how they’ve been playing as well as the club and its progress.
“I’m excited to play a key role in trying to continue to build the Club and I’m looking forward to working with the staff and different communities involved with Brisbane Roar.
“When I was a player, the culture and environment at the Club was one of inclusiveness and good people, so I think a key role is to form an environment and culture people are proud to be associated with.
“The internal and external stakeholders are pushing for one goal and I’m very confident that with the restructure the Club has started to initiate that there are good times ahead.”
Kovacevic’s appointment to General Manager – Club will see him bring a wealth of experience and expertise.
Joining the Roar from Western United Football Club, where he was the General Manager of Football, Kovacevic has also overseen Football Operations at Perth Glory (2009-2015) and was the General Manager of Football at Adelaide United (2015-2019).
While at Adelaide, Kovacevic was part of their A-League Championship in 2015/16 as well as the Australia Cup in 2018 and 2019.
During his playing career, Kovacevic enjoyed spells at National Soccer League teams Melbourne Knights, Adelaide City FC, and South Melbourne FC. The introduction of the A-League in 2005 saw Kovacevic sign with Perth Glory, where he made 32 appearances.
On his appointment, Kovacevic is rapt to have joined Brisbane Roar.
“I am excited to have joined Brisbane Roar, a club that has proven it can be successful on and off the field. This is where we want to see it headed in the near future” Kovacevic said via press release.
Kovacevic will review all football systems at the Club to build and improve upon what is currently in place while ensuring all areas of the football department continue to operate effectively.
“Queensland has a great number of footballers playing the game and has always managed to produce quality footballers for the NPL, A-Leagues and National teams. We want to continue to ensure the Brisbane Roar is an integral part to this development system and work together with all football stakeholders,” Kovacevic said via the Roar.
Laya has been a familiar face at Brisbane Roar for almost a decade, and her appointment to a General Manager role is set to continue strengthening the Club’s administrative and club services.
As the Club’s longest serving employee, she will continue to manage game operations and back-office administrative services that support the Club’s operation and governance systems, providing important support across the football department.
Laya is looking forward to the opportunity to take on this new challenge.
“I am grateful that the club noticed my efforts after working hard over the years. This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to taking on the responsibilities and making the most of it,” she said via press release.