Western United Liberty A-League Women Football Department update

Western United has today confirmed the following personnel updates to its Liberty A-League Women football department, effective immediately.

Head Coach Mark Torcaso departs to further progress his international career

Head Coach Mark Torcaso has made the difficult decision to resign from his position in order to focus fully on his role with the Philippines Women’s National Team.

This decision came in consultation with the Philippine Football Federation and with Western United, with the Club giving its full support to Torcaso in pursuing his current high-profile international opportunity.

While he departs as head coach, Torcaso will remain connected to Western United in an advisory role, continuing to facilitate the Club’s development pathway for talented players in the West.

Torcaso moves on after his historic 2022/23 season, where he led Western United’s inaugural side to the Grand Final and won the Liberty A-League Coach of the Year award.

Torcaso said it had been an honour to represent Western United as a head coach, affirming his anticipation at seeing the team continue to grow.

“The Club has meant everything to me – the players, the staff and everyone involved in it. To be part of this is something so special and unique,” he said.

“I cannot wait to continue watching this team evolve – this team has the capabilities to go all the way. My connection with the women’s team will remain, just in a different way. I am looking forward to this and helping in whatever way I can.”

Western United General Manager of Football Mal Impiombato hailed Torcaso’s contribution to the Club, expecting his influence to be felt for some time.

“I, and the entire football club, wish to express our immense thanks to Mark for his incredible work in bringing our A-League Women program to life,” he said.

“Mark’s commitment to building an exemplary women’s program at Western United has been a constant throughout the journey. Alongside his success and accolades, it will be the culture that he set that will form his legacy at our Club.”

“We wish him continued success with the Philippines and look forward to the continued contribution he will have at our Club through his advisory role.”

Helen Winterburn accepts full-time football role interstate

Assistant Coach Helen Winterburn will also depart the Club after accepting a full-time position as football coach at Central Coast Sports College.

Similarly to Torcaso, Winterburn departs the Club with its full support to further her burgeoning coaching career, which will also see her continue as an assistant with the Young Matildas.

As part of the inaugural coaching staff, Winterburn brought a wealth of tactical knowledge to her role and was a key contributor to the team’s success, even taking to the sideline herself for the side’s record 6-0 win over Newcastle Jets last season.

Winterburn said she would always look fondly on her first opportunity to work in a professional environment at Western United.

“I am proud to have played a part in Western United’s history as the inaugural women’s assistant coach and I am grateful to everyone at the club for the opportunity and for their support throughout my time,” she said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be part of a fantastic team and I would like to wish the players, coaching staff and the entire Club the very best in the future.”

Impiombato added his gratitude to Winterburn for her role in bringing high standards to Western United’s women’s program from the very beginning.

“I would like to sincerely thank Helen for what she brought to our Club as the inaugural Liberty A-League assistant coach,” he said.

“Helen’s knowledge and expertise was crucial to the development of our program on and off the pitch. We wanted to set the bar high last season, and Helen was an influential part of that.

“We wish Helen all the very best in the future and look forward to watching her career continue to progress from afar.”

Kat Smith becomes first female head coach at Western United

In light of these changes, Western United is delighted to appoint Kat Smith as the Club’s new Liberty A-League Head Coach.

One of the leading minds in Australian women’s football, Smith becomes United’s first ever female head coach and will continue the growth of the program which Torcaso started.

Smith guided Western Sydney Wanderers to their second-best ever points tally in the Liberty A-League last season and boasts a breadth of experience in the Australian national team set-up.

Smith has worked in assistant coach and analyst positions across youth and senior national teams, including a key analyst role during the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Returning to the Liberty A-League, Smith said she is ready to write the next chapter in Western United’s short history.

“This is a great opportunity. Building on the foundations and aiming for the next level is an exciting challenge,” she said.

“Our key focus will involve meticulous planning and preparation, effective communication and continuous improvement.

“Collectively, we will strive for excellence and take a collaborative approach to achieving success. I acknowledge the challenge that the season brings and will endeavour to create a winning culture and an enjoyable environment for all involved.”

Impiombato added his delight at securing Smith to continue developing the future of Western United’s women’s program.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kat to our football club. Kat is an extremely talented coach with a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we are buoyant about the impact she will have at Western United,” he said.

“We welcome Kat to the Club and look forward to seeing her continue to build on the foundations that have been set in our women’s department.”

Alongside Smith, Chelsea Noonan will continue in her role as assistant coach and extend her already outstanding work with the team.

Noonan holds a UEFA A Licence qualification and has previously worked as an assistant coach with the Republic of Ireland Under-17 Women’s National Team.

Smith will take her first session as Western United Head Coach on Monday as the team begins preparation for the Round 7 clash against Adelaide United.

Updated Western United Liberty A-League Women Football Department

Amanda Stella – Women’s Football Manager

Kat Smith – Head Coach

Chelsea Noonan – Assistant Coach

Blerton Belica – Goalkeeper Coach

George Mcheileh – Head of Performance

Nick Ragg – Physiotherapist

Club Doctor – Dr. David Bolzonello

Johnny Nguyen – Team Manager