Football Coaches Australia appoints Ernie Merrick as FCA Ambassador


Football Coaches Australia (FCA) is pleased to announce the addition of Premiership and Championship-winning A-League Men’s coach Ernie Merrick as an FCA Ambassador.

Ernie’s ongoing legacy in Australia football is assured. To date, he has left an indelible imprint on Australian football, and on those he has worked with.

Through his statesman role, FCA looks forward to Australian football coaches continuing to be able to tap into Ernie’s considerable football experience and expertise. Ernie will also be able to provide valuable commentary and insights on FCA issues relevant to coaches in Australia.

Ernie Merrick OAM was a PE teacher, as well as an amateur football player before entering the head coaching ranks.

Ernie’s most recent A-League role was as Newcastle Jets FC Head Coach where he took the Jets to the Grand Final in his inaugural 2017/18 season. He is the former head coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport, Hong Kong national football team, and A-League clubs Melbourne Victory FC and Wellington Phoenix FC.

Under Ernie’s leadership, Victory won the 2006–07 A-League Premiership, finished second in the group phase of the 2008 Asian Champions League and in the 2008–2009 season, won the treble, the Pre-Season Cup, the Premiership and the Grand Final.

During the 2009–2010 season, despite severe season-ending knee injuries to key players, Victory once again reached the Grand Final.

In committing to the FCA Ambassador role Ernie stated:

When asked by FCA to become an Ambassador and Technical Advisor to FCA I felt privileged and honoured. I hope to be able to work with FCA to provide ongoing professional development mentorship to aspiring coaches.”

FCA President Phil Moss acknowledged the appointment by stating:

“Ernie’s credentials as a coach speak for themselves – without a doubt one of the most successful to grace the national competition – but he is also a top-class human being who passionately cares about people so he will add significantly to our organization & our members.”

Long-time football colleague, and current FCA Executive Committee member, Gary Cole endorsed Ernie’s role.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Ernie (Merrick) since the mid-eighties when he came to Preston Lions in the NSL as a young assistant coach to Billy Murray. Our paths crossed again when he was Head coach of the Victorian Institute of Sport, where he helped develop wonderful players like Vince Grella, Simon Colosimo, Adrian Leijer and Billy Celeski. We then had the opportunity and privilege to help set up and build Melbourne Victory Football Club.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Ernie as he is a wonderful leader and has the gift of being able to make the complex simple. He is a Pro-Licence Coach, with a teaching and sports science background, yet simplifies rather than confuses, which helps him to be the wonderfully successful coach he is, as well as a great developer of players.”

FCA looks forward to further Australian coach Ambassadorial role announcements within the near future.

Football South Australia extend collaboration with SAASL

Football South Australia and the South Australian Amateur Soccer League (SAASL) have extended their collaboration, strengthening their cooperation in developing football in the state.

There was a meeting held recently where key representatives from both organisations discussed ways to continue their growth of the game in the state at all levels.

Since the partnership began in 2018, the two parties have made a meaningful impact in the South Australian football community.

Several key initiatives have been launched through this collaboration which include:

Referee Development: Football SA’s Referees Department is now responsible for assigning match officials for all SAASL games. In 2024, the strategic emphasis by Football SA and SAASL on referees has led to a notable improvement in match official coverage for Senior Divisions in both Saturday and Sunday leagues.

Officiating Initiatives: Football SA has introduced various initiatives to recruit new referees and support young officials, such as State Championships and specialised mentorship programs. Meanwhile, SAASL is actively working on strategies to enhance their Club Referee program, offering a clear pathway for both new and returning referees.

Respect Campaign: The Armband Campaign to protect young referees has been successfully launched. Embraced by clubs, participants, and the football community, the bright orange armbands worn by referees under 18 serve as a clear reminder that these officials are minors.

Venue Support: ServiceFM Stadium has been the venue for major SAASL events, offering a professional environment for amateur league matches.

Streamlined Registration: SAASL players will keep registering via a consistent Player Registration System, which enhances administrative efficiency and ensures the integrity of player registrations.

Shared Competition Management System: Offering uniform and efficient Competition Management Processes across all competitions, enhancing efficiency for clubs, referees, and association administrators.

Enhanced Player Protection: SAASL players are covered by the National Insurance Scheme, which offers essential protection for clubs, administrators, volunteers, and participants.

Michael Carter, CEO of Football SA spoke very highly of the partnership and its effects on the game in SA.

“This extension represents more than just a renewal of our agreement,” he said in a statement.

“It’s a testament to the evolving and strengthening relationship between Football SA and SAASL. We’re working closer together than ever before, and the results speak for themselves.”

George Fotopoulos, President of SAASL and SAASL Board members and Executive Officer Darcy Evan shared a similar sentiment about the excitement of this continued long-term partnership.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Football SA. Our ongoing affiliation has seen a significant improvement in our Referee coverage in 2024, that is due to the collaboration and hard work of both the Football SA and the SAASL administration teams. We look forward to further opportunities the partnership will provide,” SAASL confirmed in a statement.

Overall, this partnership enhances the infrastructure, safety, and quality of football in South Australia, encouraging greater participation for players, coaches and referees which is helping the sport thrive at all levels.

Amateur and grassroots football success is the core to any good footballing foundation and this prosperous partnership continuing is a brilliant result.

Brisbane Roar confirm multi-year apparel deal with Cikers Australia

Brisbane Roar confirmed a multi-year deal with Cikers Australia to become the club’s new Apparel Partner, leaving behind New Balance who first joined the Roar in 2021-22.

The deal, the most lucrative in Brisbane Roar’s history, will have the club in Cikers Australia kit and apparel for the next three seasons.

Cikers will produce a wider variety of custom playing, training, and casual wear for Roar players, staff, members, and supporters.

Cikers Australia is an apparel company that offers services to local clubs, schools, universities and organisations with their high quality teamwear manufactured to the very highest standards and competitively priced.

The company currently also partner with A-League Champions Central Coast Mariners and future National Second Division club Wollongong Wolves, offering them both club record multi-year deals.

It’s clear Cikers Australia is playing a big role in Australian football on the manufacturing side and will look to strike more deals in the future with CEO Victor Wang claiming it is in their best interest to build a name through the world game down under.

Zac Anderson, Brisbane Roar COO expressed his excitement on the possibilities of this new deal for the club’s kit designs in its 20th season.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Cikers Australia. This partnership marks a pivotal step towards taking more control over our Club’s merchandise and retail strategy.” Anderson said in a club statement.

“Our collaboration is focused upon delivering products that represent our Club’s great history and connection to Queensland.

“We are committed to excellence, and together with Cikers Australia, we aim to deliver apparel that our players and supporters are proud of.”

The club have promised special, revamped pieces of merchandise to celebrate the club’s 20th season competing in the A-League by representing the club’s origins in their kit designs.

In 2023, Cikers released a design for the Mariners in their Australia Cup campaign by paying homage to the original Mariners kit of the inaugural 2005/06 season A-League season, and it was met with praise from the fanbase so expect similar in this deal.

Both parties share the same values of growing the game and selecting designs that speak to the history of the club making this a brilliant deal for the Brisbane Roar who have recently struck many good business deals.

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