Football Coaches Australia appoints Ernie Merrick as FCA Ambassador

Merrick

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.

Western United home games on the move

Western United Regional Football Facility

Western United will stage home games in Tarneit, as the long-awaited move to the West of Melbourne takes shape.

Wyndham City Council said on Tuesday that construction of the Regional Football Facility in Tarneit is nearly finished, allowing Western United to move in and begin preparations for the first home games.

Western United fans have supported the club throughout its history and will be able to see the country’s top footballers in their own neighbourhood in 2024.

The Liberty A-League Women’s home game against the Newcastle Jets on Sunday, March 17 is scheduled to be the first match, followed by the NPL Victoria and Isuzu UTE A-League Men fixtures.

Western United and Western Melbourne Group (WMG) Chairman Jason Sourasis described this as a turning point for the club, stating that everyone will be working tirelessly to be ready to host games as soon as possible.

“This is a momentous milestone for everyone involved in the project. It allows us to move into our permanent home, playing out of only the second rectangular stadium in the state of Victoria that is approved to play A-League Men and A-League Women games,” he stated via press release.

“The next phase of growth for Western United Football Club will be underpinned by a community and fan-first philosophy as we entrench our football club into the Wyndham community and grow our own brand empathy within the fastest-growing municipality in Australia.

“I thank everyone that has been on this journey for their unwavering belief, effort, support and patience.”

Western United Liberty A-League Women Head Coach Kat Smith expressed her excitement about playing in front of the Green and Black crowd in the first match at Tarneit.

“It’s such a privilege for myself, the players and all the fans who’ve joined our journey of building a football club to share this significant milestone of moving into our new headquarters and playing a home match for the very first time,” she added via press release.

“I’m extremely impressed with the facility, the equality in its design shows the respect the Club and our partners have for our A-League women and how invested they are in building an amazing future for female football.

“The girls will be absolutely buzzing to be playing in this historic opening match in Tarneit, we can’t wait.”

Wyndham City Council remains a key backer of Western United, with plans to build a cutting-edge stadium that will serve as a football home for cities throughout the West.

Western United and Wyndham City will provide as many updates as possible on confirmed matchdays, activities, and ticketing information for the Regional Football Facility. 

Melbourne Victory join with iconic shoe brand ASICS

Melbourne Victory has announced that ASICS Australia will be the Club’s Official Footwear Partner for the 2023/24 A-Leagues season.

ASICS is at the forefront of the world performance sports market as the leading running shoe brand for enthusiasts and professional athletes alike. Whether at professional sporting events, the Olympics or an everyday run around a park, ASICS is the runner’s choice, providing comfort, support and a superior ride.

The deal is fitting for both organisations as Melbourne Victory are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, club in the A-league. While ASICS are also one of the largest footwear companies in Australia, two powerhouses in the country collaborate to create what should become a successful partnership.

The global sports brand will supply Melbourne Victory Club’s staff with footwear for the upcoming season.

Melbourne Victory Managing Director Caroline Carnegie is looking forward to having ASICS on board as a partner for the season.

“We’re thrilled to have ASICS on board with us at Melbourne Victory and we can’t wait to be able to showcase their range to our members and fans,” she stated via press release.

“ASICS is a global brand that produces some of the world’s best footwear and we believe our partnership will give our players and staff the cutting edge heading into the upcoming season.”

ASICS Oceania MD, Mark Brunton, said he was thrilled to collaborate with Melbourne Victory when they expanded into the worldwide football market with their innovative new football-specific line.

“We are proud of the high-quality range of performance footwear that ASICS has in the market and are excited to tie in a relationship with Melbourne Victory with the release of our new Swift Strike football boot,” he added via media release.

“We are looking forward to seeing Victory’s players performing at the highest level in our footwear.”

Melbourne Victory will next face local rivals Melbourne City on the February 17 in one of the biggest fixtures in the A-League season.

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