Diogo Ferreira said he always knew that coaching would be his calling.
At just a shade over 30 years of age, Ferreira decided to cut his playing days short after a career that spanned 13 years and six countries.
“I decided to semi-retire at the age of 32. I always knew I would make a better coach than I did a player so I thought I might as well get started,” he told The Green Room on FNR.
After spending 2021 as an assistant coach at Melbourne Knights in NPL Victoria, Ferreira detailed how he had stayed in touch with Anthony Frost after he delivered one of his coaching licences.
Once Frost got the job at Western United and asked Ferreira to join him as assistant coach, he said it was an opportunity he jumped at to take the next step in his coaching journey.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be part of something when it’s so fresh and so new. It’s an amazing opportunity; good for me to learn from someone like Anthony with such great knowledge,” he said.
Ferreira played 84 times in the A-League Men competition across stints at Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory.
A defensive midfielder or defender, Ferreira made 11 appearances in Brisbane’s 2013/14 Championship-winning team and is now beginning to try to instil that winning formula in the players under his tutelage.
Western United’s most recent NPL 3 fixture was a thrilling, come from behind 4-3 win over Doveton SC, and Ferreira said those types of moments will strengthen the group for the remainder of the campaign.
“These kinds of games bring the team together, and it’s that belief for in the future that if we are down, we know we’re capable of coming back,” he said.
The talent in the Western United NPL 3 squad is impressing Diogo Ferreira
The side currently sits joint-top of the NPL 3 ladder alongside Melbourne City ahead of a huge two-week stretch, where United will play host to third-placed Melbourne Victory and fourth-placed Preston Lions within a handful of days.
Ferreira has been impressed with the side in the early weeks of the season, and in particular with the attitude and application of A-League Men players that have dropped down into the team.
“At the end of the day, you’re with a bunch of young kids that want to make it as professionals, so they all want to push in the same direction,” he said.
“There’s a lot of good talent; also the boys dropping down to get some game time from the seniors – they’ve been unbelievable. I’ve been there as a player and it’s very easy to drop down and not really care, but the way they’ve come in – they’ve set the standard for the other boys so I’m really impressed with that.”
Ferreira has joined fellow A-League Men stalwart Mate Dugandzic in a new-look Western United Academy coaching staff, one that is working together to aid the development of players into senior professionals.
That will continue with the NPL 3 season still having a lot of time left to run, while Ferreira will remain committed to his own career development as a coach, with Western United set to be the beneficiary of his knowledge and commitment on the sidelines.