On the eve of the historic first round of matches, Western United can confirm its inaugural Junior Academy staff across coaching, medical and admin disciplines.
This year will see four new teams from Under 14’s to Under 18’s join the Western United family for the first time, giving opportunities to young players and coaches in the West alike.
Western United Academy Director Anthony Frost said each member of staff would contribute to making the Club a leading developer of talented young footballers and exemplary young people.
“Having good people that are aligned to our Club values is a critical component to ensure we achieve our program goals, which is why I’m really pleased with the group we’ve gathered,” he said.
“Each are committed to the development of others, as well as themselves which makes for an exciting combination.
“We’ve had a good start to our program to date and I’m looking forward to working with everyone within the group to keep improving things even further.”
Max Clarke has come in as the Under 18’s head coach having previously coached at Melbourne City, and he is supported in the assistant role by United’s first-team Performance Analyst Vince Ierardo, who recently completed his AFC Pro Coaching Licence.
The Under 16’s will be coached by Adrian Bate who has high-level experience in senior football and at Football Victoria. Daniel Hutchison, who also works with the first team, will work in the assistant role.
Kogulan Sabaratnam will coach the Under 15’s team, adding to his long list of experience which includes head coach and assistant coach roles in addition to his time as Technical Director at Calder United in NPLW Victoria.
Jorge Gero will take charge of the Under 14’s team having been involved in talent identification programs at Football Victoria and recently working as Technical Director at Caroline Springs George Cross FC.
The Under 14’s and Under 15’s sides will work closely together with Cameron Siketa and Hannah Ryan both performing assistant roles across both teams.
Mark Topic will work with the Club’s shot stoppers as Junior Academy Goalkeeping Coach while Ryan Hobbs will ensure each player is on the pitch as much as possible in his role as Junior Academy Physio. As the Academy Performance Analyst, Harry Reading will work with junior teams as well as his current role with the two senior sides.
A number of volunteer Team Manager’s will also assist the teams – Nick Wei in the Under 14’s, Stefan Pepdjonovic for the Under 15’s, Khan Sayers in the Under 16’s and Oscar Ncube for the Under 18’s.
Everything is set for the Western United Junior Academy to debut this weekend with all four teams in action against Brimbank Stallions on Sunday at Saltwater Reserve in Point Cook.
Full list of Western United Junior Academy staff
Academy Director – Anthony Frost
Academy Administration Officer – Jessica Bos
Academy Operations Manager – Michael Ireland
U18 Head Coach – Max Clarke
U18 Assistant Coach – Vince Ierardo
U18 Volunteer Team Manager – Oscar Ncube
U16 Head Coach – Adrian Bate
U16 Assistant Coach – Daniel Hutchison
U16 Volunteer Team Manager – Khan Sayers
U15 Head Coach – Kogulan Sabaratnam
U15 Volunteer Team Manager – Stefan Pepdjonovic
U14 Head Coach – Jorge Gero
U14/U15 Assistant Coach – Cameron Siketa
U14/U15 Assistant Coach – Hannah Ryan
U14 Volunteer Team Manager – Nick Wei
Junior Academy Goalkeeper Coach – Mark Topic
Junior Academy Physio – Ryan Hobbs
Academy Performance Analyst – Harry Reading