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George Stamboulidis: Young Socceroos’ journey from Melbourne to Madrid

In just a few short years, George Stamboulidis has transitioned from playing in Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs to one of football’s global meccas.

In a recent interview with Football Victoria, Stamboulidis shed light on his journey to Madrid-based Rayo Vallecano, his professional development, and ambitions for the future.

The following was published as Young Socceroos’ Spanish Incentive | Football Victoria.

Stamboulidis signed with the Spanish club shortly after his call up to the Young Socceroos under 20 identification camp in Holland back in February. The young, gifted midfielder however was quickly forced to return home to Melbourne shortly however, as Covid-19 swept through Spain.

Upon his return, no time was wasted when a program was swiftly produced for him by mentor and former South Melbourne FC and Brighton Albion legend David Clarkson with the help of Football Victoria Technical Director Boris Seroshtan, strength and conditioning coach Piero Sarchetta, and his personal UEFA Pro Licence football coach Greek Super League veteran Goulis Karaisaridis.

Adhering to strict government restrictions to combat the pandemic, Stamboulidis was lucky to train with his brother Haris (a graduate of Columbia University and current professional footballer with Segunda División B side Unión Popular de Langreo), who also returned from Spain. Both brothers fondly recalling their younger years and how their backyard was converted to a gym where they would spend a lot of time working out or “jamming” together on the guitar or piano.

Stamboulidis played for a number of clubs in Melbourne, including Heidelberg United under-20s.

Standing at approximately six foot, Stamboulidis considers himself very fortunate to be able to draw on the advice he received from Young Socceroos Coach Gary Van Egmond regarding his strength and conditioning while upkeeping his silky football skills on a daily basis even with the absence of matches being played. Football was also complimented by Stamboulidis enrolling online at the University of Melbourne after graduating from the prestigious Carey Baptist Grammar School on scholarship, with an ATAR score of 92.4

Stamboulidis credits Football Victoria Technical Director Boris Seroshtan and Melbourne City’s Rado Vidosic for assisting him to breakthrough. The pair chose him to take part in the inaugural Elite Late Development Program, which provided him the platform to launch his career.

Fast forwarding 10 months and Stamboulidis has now settled back at Rayo Vallecano and is pushing for an opportunity in the Rayo Vallecano B team, his aim, whilst at the same time playing valuable minutes in the under 23 side in a men’s competition. Stamboulidis’ proficiency in French, Greek and Spanish has seen him named vice-captain in a diverse team, which helps him communicate effectively on and off the field.

Despite the excitement of playing in one of Europe’s top leagues, the midfielder is taking a patient approach, adopting a personal motto of “work hard and then harder, then only I may get an opportunity I could take”.

“The difference I see between Australia and Europe is the time spent training and the myriad of opportunities that exist for players to play many more matches than what is provided for elite young footballers back home in Australia,” Stamboulidis said.

“I spent a bit of time in Greece playing and the football culture was another level to what we footballers are used to in Australia. However people in Spain and in particular Madrid, has football so entrenched in people’s lives and the culture that there isn’t a moment when you do not hear, watch or play football in all its forms. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to develop, learn, play and enjoy the game I have loved since I was four years old,” he said.

Funding for female changerooms a top priority for NSW Government

The NSW Government has made female changerooms a top priority for funding in Round Four of its Stronger Country Communities Fund.

The NSW Government has made female changerooms a top priority for funding when $100 million is spread across regional NSW in Round Four of its Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Football has applauded the move, allowing female sporting teams in regional NSW to benefit from new and improved facilities, with 50% of the fund devoted towards female changeroom facilities and programs.

“We are delighted the NSW Government has chosen to invest in female sporting programs and facilities at such a vital time for football. The hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ has sparked an even greater surge of demand for football facilities – many of which are already bursting at the seams. Investment in our facilities is vital to keep up with demand,” Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge said.

Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland says the announcement aligns perfectly with football’s needs, following the release of a state-wide Infrastructure Strategy in March 2020. This highlighted the requirement for significant investment in facilities, especially for female football over the next decade, as there’s a projected increase in female participation.

“As the state’s largest sport, football is experiencing unprecedented increase in female football. The number of women and girls playing football has risen by 11% in the past year alone,” he said.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson highlights Football Australia’s intention of having 50/50 female participation by 2027, helped massively by the hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 and it’s Legacy ‘23 Plan.

“Our Legacy ’23 Plan is a long-term project extending far beyond the final match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023TM and we are determined to elevate the women’s game to even greater heights – ultimately for Australia to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“To do this we have identified several time critical initiatives to kick-start Legacy ‘23 which are aligned to our XI Principles and focus on facilities and infrastructure, high performance, participation, and international engagement.

“Building and upgrading community facilities and infrastructure forms part of a key pillar of the Legacy ’23 plan, to help address the existing facilities gap we are experiencing around Australia, and also plan for the influx of 400,000 women and girls we are expecting to be playing the sport of football by 2027.

“Currently of our 2,500 football clubs in Australia, only one in five of these facilities are female friendly.

“Football is committed to working with Clubs, Local Councils and stakeholders to secure funding for the sport. It is integral for football that we ensure existing venues can be used at full capacity, with inclusive facilities, through proper planning for future growth via partnerships with government at all levels and industry partners.”

Facts on Female Football Facilities across New South Wales:

  • 24% of venues DO NOT have change facilities (248 venue)
  • 76% of venues have change room facilities (766 venues). Of these venues:
    • 76% are NOT female friendly
    • 60% have open showers and are not suitable for males or females in the 21st century
    • 48% of change rooms are in either moderate or poor condition
  • 62% of venues in NSW do NOT have a referee’s room
  • Only 36% of venues have a referee’s room
    • 73% of referee rooms are NOT female friendly
    • 44% of referee rooms are in moderate or poor condition
    • 51% of showers in referee rooms are either unlockable or open

Round 4 applications for the Stronger Country Communities Fund opened on May 1, 2021 and you can find it here.

Football Coaches Australia present ‘The Football Coaching Life Podcast’ #8 with Gary Cole interviewing Joe Montemurro

Joe Montemurro is currently the manager of Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League, where he has decided to step down at the end of the season.

Joe Montemurro is currently the manager of Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League, where he has decided to step down at the end of the season to have a well-deserved break, recharge, refresh and review.

Joe has transformed Arsenal since his arrival in 2017 and has won the Championship, the League Cup, been runners up in the FA Cup and the League Cup and made the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

This conversation reveals Joe’s very humble personality and looks at his journey from coaching juniors at his beloved Brunswick Juventus in the Victorian Premier League, through to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City in the W League before taking up the incredible challenge with Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League.

He discusses coach education in both Australia and Italy and his experiences in the differences from ‘how to coach’ to ‘what to coach’. He also discusses how his coaching has changed and matured over the journey and the importance of resilience when being under the spotlight for coaches.

Joe was humble, open and honest and clear about wanting to build a legacy by leaving each club and team he has worked at in a better place than when he arrived.

Please join FCA in sharing Joe Montemurro’s Football Coaching Life.

https://thefootballcoachinglifepodcast.podbean.com/e/joe-montemurro/

Rangers Coaches Convention to give unique access

Rangers Football Club have announced a week-long online Coaches Convention with unique access, set to begin on May 24, 2021.

Rangers Football Club have announced a week-long online Coaches Convention, set to begin on May 24, 2021.

The recently crowned Scottish Premiership title winners for 2020-21 will hold the convention that’s led by the renowned Rangers Soccer Academies team, as well as keynote speakers – Rangers manager and assistant manager Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister respectively, first-team coach Michael Beale, and Sporting Director Ross Wilson.

This unique offering provides greater access to Rangers, bringing together the expertise of coaches and senior members of staff from across the club.

Taking place every evening from Monday to Friday, from 17:00 to 21:00 (BST/UTC+1), attendees are recognised with a 12-month premium subscription to the Rangers Online Academy. The first 500 registered will receive an exclusive welcome pack in the post.

The convention will contribute towards the Scottish FA and Irish FA CPD hours, with early bird offers on sale for £120 ($215) per individual.

An outline on speakers and subjects are below:

  • Ross Wilson – Football Department Strategy
  • Craig Mulholland – Academy Overview
  • Graeme Murty – Game Model and Curriculum
  • David McCallum – Professional Development Phase
  • Mark Spalding – Youth Development Phase
  • Alan Boyd – Foundation Phase
  • Graeme Smith – Academy Goalkeeping
  • Creag Robertson and Arlene Sinclair – Player Care Provision
  • Jamie Ramsden – The Academy Performance Strategy
  • Chris Milne & Olivier Materne – Academy Medical Provision
  • David Stevenson & Andy Scoulding – Scouting and Recruitment
  • Amy McDonald – Women’s and Girl’s Department Overview
  • Malcolm Thomson and Kevin Murphy – Women’s First Team and Girls’ Academy
  • Dr Victoria Campbell, Olivier Materne & Emma Traynor – ‘The Female Athlete’
  • Michael Beale
  • George Brown – Performance Analysis
  • Guest Session with former Rangers player(s)
  • Live panel discussion with members of Academy Management Team
  • Steven Gerrard & Gary McAllister – Three Year Journey and 55 Title Win.

“We are thrilled to announce the inaugural Rangers Coaches Convention on the back of the club winning our 55th title and as we enter into our 150th anniversary year,” Head of Soccer Academies and International Relations, Gary Gibson said.

“As we continue to expand our partnerships across the globe, the Coaches Convention will become part of our international strategy to give coaches and fans an opportunity to access the inner workings and showcase the work within the football department.

“For the first time ever, you will be able to interact with senior staff from the men’s first team, women’s team, academy and club legends and we will cover specific areas such as goalkeeping, sports science, medicine, match analysis, scouting and recruitment, and educational programmes through the player care team. It is a truly unique opportunity!

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming coaches from all over the world which will include our official partner clubs Bengaluru FC (India), Orange County Soccer Club (United States) and Hamburg SV (Germany).

“I would like to thank all the staff across the commercial and football departments which has allowed us to create the Coaches Convention, further highlighting the one-club ethos that has now been implemented.”

Details on how to register can be found here.

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