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Gary Cole inducted into Football Victoria Hall of Fame

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Football Victoria (FV) has announced the first of its 2021 inductees into the FV Hall of Fame is renowned Socceroo, NSL great and championship winning coach Gary Cole.

Cole is part of three 2021 inductees to join 23 outstanding contributors for Victorian football in the Hall of Fame, with accompanying members to be announced in coming weeks.

Gary Cole has had an immense impact on Australian football for over half a century – with a playing, coaching, mentoring and administrative career that has seen him occupy roles at all levels of the game.

Cole’s passion for football – where he drives it forward with a pure agenda of what is in the best interests of the game and those who play, coach, administer and support it – is second to none.

Arriving from England with his family in 1971, Cole began his playing career with South Yarra in the Metropolitan Fourth Division, playing alongside his father and gaining promotion to the Third Division in his first senior season as a 15-year-old.

He won the NSL Golden Boot in back-to-back seasons with Heidelberg United in 1980 and 1981, claiming the club’s only national league trophy with a hat-trick in the 1980 NSL Grand Final.

Cole’s domestic league exploits were equally matched by an impressive representative career. He made his debut for Victoria in a 2-3 loss as a substitute against Hungarian club Ferencvaros in 1974.

Over almost a decade, Cole was an ever-present for the Socceroos, making 40 appearances and scoring 21 goals for his adopted homeland, 19 of which were A internationals, including 17 goals.

He held the world record for goals scored in a World Cup qualifier when he nabbed 7 against Fiji in 1981 (later broken by both Archie Thompson (13) and David Zdrilic (8) in 2001 against American Samoa).

Upon retirement from his playing career, he progressed into coaching, firstly with the Australian Institute of Sport, where he played a role in nurturing Australia’s best young talent alongside Ron Smith.

He returned to Victoria where he spent time at the helm of Heidelberg United in the National Soccer League, before returning to the Victorian Premier League with Altona Magic (two separate stints), Bulleen Inter Kings and Bentleigh Greens. He won two championships – with Altona Magic (1996) and Bulleen Inter Kings (1998).

Cole enjoyed great success as a football administrator at the top level of professional football in Australia during a period of immense change, occupying the role of Director of Football for both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. He was the inaugural Director of Football at Melbourne Victory when the club was formed in 2004.

Cole was contracted at Football Victoria from January 2018 to January 2019, firstly as Manager Strategy and Special Projects and then as Executive Manager Facilities and Advocacy.

He joined the Football Coaches Australia (FCA) Executive Committee in 2019 and has played an integral role in building FCA to what it is today with MOUs in place alongside Soccerscene, Football Australia (FA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), as well as several international coaching associations. He is also the host of the FCA’s highly successful ‘Football Coaching Life’ podcast which gives unique insights in a one-on-one setting.

Football Victoria President Antonella Care celebrated the induction of a pillar of Victorian football.

“Gary Cole’s ongoing dedication and commitment to our game over so many years is absolutely remarkable,” she said.

“Gary’s influence stretches across all facets of football. His natural ability as a player transferred seamlessly into his off-field roles, all of which he has delivered with a single-minded focus on making our game the best it can be.

“Victorian football owes a debt of gratitude to Gary for so many years of service, which shows no signs of slowing down! On behalf of our Victorian football community, congratulations Gary on this well-deserved accolade.”

Upon his Hall of Fame induction, Gary Cole said:

“I’m obviously incredibly honoured to have received the nomination and the induction into the Hall of Fame. I want to thank Football Victoria and all of the people that made the decision to bring me into the Hall of Fame family, I’m incredibly proud and honoured.

“I also want to thank Andy McCarthur and her team, as well as Tony Persoglia and Nick Hatzoglou, who all brought together my story in the digital form. Which is a new thing for Football Victoria and the Hall of Fame, meaning it will be around for a while.

“I also need to thank my three former Heidelberg, Victorian and Australian teammates Jimmy Rooney, Jimmy Campbell and Kenny Taylor that took the time to contribute. It was very mood, and I’m very proud to be included.”

Cole’s incredible football story is told in his own words, and those of his peers in the first episode of FV’s Hall of Fame Series.

The Football Coaching Life with Alen Stajcic: “I knew that I had more to give back to the sport”

Alen Stajcic

Football Coaches Australia is delighted to present the latest episode of the ‘Football Coaching Life Podcast’, with Gary Cole interviewing former Australia Women’s National Team and Central Coast Mariners A-League Men’s coach Alen Stajcic.

Alen is currently Head Coach of the Philippines Women’s National Team. The side, nicknamed the Malditas (yes that’s correct!), are being prepared for the 2022 AFC Asian Cup held in India. The Philippines will play in a group with Indonesia, Thailand and of course Australia (the Matildas).

Alen’s Serbian background led him to Bonnyrigg White Eagles in Sydney’s west, but a knee injury shortened his playing career and as a teacher he began coaching.

Staj has had a remarkable coaching journey that began at the Hills Sports High School and at New South Wales Institute of Sport, coaching the Sapphires in the Women’s National Soccer League. Both of these institutions saw teams achieve repeated successes with championship wins, but Alen learned that success comes in many ways.

He had an early taste of coaching the Matildas in an Assistant Coach role with the Young Matildas at the 2006 World Cup in Russia, before becoming the inaugural Head Coach at Sydney FC Women, which saw them win two championships and two premierships, as well as third place at the FIFA International Women’s Club Championship.

Then followed five fantastic years as Head Coach of the Matildas, during which they beat Brazil and World Champions USA for the first time, changing the belief of the players and achieving successes at the Asian Cup, Olympic Games and World Cup.

Alen’s ‘One Piece of Wisdom’ was: ‘It’s got to be fun; you’ve got to enjoy it because it’s a tough job. Coaching can be a lonely experience, so you’ve really got to find the enjoyment, fun and reward and the connection to what it is you want to achieve. If it’s not fun it’s just too tough a job!’

Please join us in sharing Alen Stajcic’s Football Coaching Life.

Paramount+ secures Premier League deal overseas

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League broadcast rights in Mexico and Central America.

A-Leagues broadcaster Paramount+ has secured a three-year deal for English Premier League rights in Mexico and Central America from the start of the 2022/23 season.

The new partnership will mark the end of pay-TV provider Sky Mexico’s reign as the only Premier League broadcaster in the region.

All 380 English Premier League matches will be streamed live through Paramount+ and ‘PlutoTV’ who is the aggregated streaming platform for Paramount+.

The contract covers Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. It also includes Belize and the Dominican Republic but on a non-exclusive basis.

Paramount+, owned by ViacomCBS, has also secured a Premier League feed for its platforms featuring 24/7 coverage of the competition.

ViacomCBS launched Paramount+ in the US in 2019 with several high-profile soccer rights acquisitions. This included International matches, CONCACAF, UEFA Champions League, as well as top flight football from Italy, Argentina and Brazil.

The Premier League rights deal marks an expansion of operations in Central America ahead of moving into a number of additional territories by 2023, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy.

Premier League Chief Executive Officer, Paul Molnar:

“We are very happy that ViacomCBS views the Premier League and our clubs as a vital part of their live sports offering,” he said.

“ViacomCBS platforms, including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, will be an outstanding home for the Premier League and we look forward to working together to showcase the league to new and existing fans throughout Central America and Mexico.”

Paramount+ has already made their mark in Australia, providing live coverage for A-League men’s and women’s competitions for subscribers to the platform.

ViacomCBS President and Chief Executive, Raffaele Annecchino:

“We know audiences around the world are passionate about sports, and especially about football. This partnership with the Premier League brings exclusive content directly to those fans, live for the first time on Paramount+ in Mexico and Central America,” he said.

“Live sports are an important differentiator for our streaming service, and as we’ve seen in the US and Australia, we are confident this will drive subscriber growth as we continue to offer the best mix of entertainment and now – live sports.”

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