Ante Milicic has been appointed as the inaugural coach of Macarthur FC. Picture: Jason Connolly/AFP
Ante Milicic has been appointed as the inaugural coach of Macarthur FC. Picture: Jason Connolly/AFP

New Sydney franchise poaches Matildas coach

Ante Milicic has been appointed head coach of Sydney's new A-League franchise, named on Wednesday as Macarthur FC.

Days after he committed to taking the Matildas through until the end of next year's Tokyo Olympics, should they qualify, Milicic has signed with the club that will enter the competition in season 2020-21.

It means that if the Matildas play at the Olympics, he would miss about six weeks of pre-season, though could feasibly be on deck by mid-August, giving him two months before Macarthur's inaugural campaign.

It will be Milicic's first club head coaching gig, having served as Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney Wanderers assistant and then as Socceroos deputy under Ange Postecoglou.

The 45-year-old also coached the Olyroos and the Young Socceroos before being handed the Matildas job in February, a month after Alen Stajcic's controversial sacking.

Croatia-based Milicic is back in Australia this week to name his 23-player Women's World Cup squad on Tuesday, and was present at Macarthur FC's launch in Campbelltown, where the club also revealed their club logo and colours and the establishment of the A-League's first indigenous academy.

Macarthur FC logo will be a bull and their colours black, white and ochre.
Macarthur FC logo will be a bull and their colours black, white and ochre.

The colours will be black, white and ochre, the black and white representing the culturally and linguistically diverse people from the region and the ochre symbolising the local Dharawal Aboriginal people on whose land the Macarthur region sits.

The logo's centrepiece is a bull, demonstrative of the club's physical prowess as well as a hat-trip to history, harking back to 1795 when a runaway herd of cattle was discovered in the region.

The three stars of the Southern Cross symbolise links to grassroots football, the NPL and A-League.

All were decided after extensive community consultation within the area, which has produced at least 20 Socceroos and 10 Matildas including Brett Emerton and Heather Garriock.

 

Ante Milicic (R) served as Ange Postecoglou’s assistant during with the Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito
Ante Milicic (R) served as Ange Postecoglou’s assistant during with the Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito

The club will play at a refurbished Campbelltown Stadium and train at a yet-to-be-constructed Centre of Excellence, using the University of Western Sydney as a temporary base.

Macarthur also set the benchmark for indigenous football development with the creation of the competition's first academy targeted specifically at young indigenous talent.

Overseen by an Advisory Board to be chaired by Professor John Maynard, author of The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe, it will aim for a first intake in June 2020.

"It is an outstanding and long overdue initiative," Maynard said.

"Unfortunately, the long history of indigenous involvement in football is not well enough known, and there is a history of not enough being done to encourage that involvement.

 

"This initiative is a start in helping to redress that imbalance. There is a great untapped talent line of players from indigenous communities here in the Macarthur region and from all over Australia."

News Corp Australia


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