Confirmed: Phoenix unveil new coaching team


Wellington Phoenix have announced their new coaching team for the next Hyundai A-League season, unveiling Darije Kalezić and Rado Vidošić as their new head coach and assistant for the 2017/18 campaign.

The club unveiled the pair at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Kalezić has success winning titles in the Netherlands, while is known for fostering promising young talent and has a proven track record in player recruitment.

After a professional playing career spanning almost two decades with over ten seasons in the Dutch first division under managers such as Martin Jol, Kalezić rose through the ranks at De Graafschap, first as a youth coach, then reserves coach, first team assistant then head coach, returning the club to the top division in his first full season in charge.

Educated in the Dutch style of football, Kalezić has been instrumental in bringing through young talent, helping unearth and develop players such as Dutch international Luke De Jong, former Liverpool recruit Oussama Assaidi and former Southampton winger Steve De Ridder.

“While the world is becoming ever smaller and more interconnected there is no substitute for a coach with such wide-reaching connections and networks, especially within top European clubs,” General Manager David Dome said.

Darije Kalezic

It was Kalezić who through discussions with his old De Graafschap Technical Director Hans Berger that recommended Jordy Buijs to Sydney FC last season.

The Dutch coach also consulted in bringing Romeo Castelen and Youssouf Hersi to Australia.

Vidošić is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced assistant coaches in the competition’s history.

He’s a premiership winner and back-to-back championship winner during his time at Brisbane Roar alongside Ange Postecoglou, while he won another championship from his time at Melbourne Victory.

“Last season we spent more on the club – both on and off the field – than we have ever done previously,” said Dome.

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“We invested significantly into players, a new training facility at Martin Luckie Park with the support of the Wellington City Council, and resources off the field.

“This season will will continue to invest strategically – and we believe Darije and Rado have the skills and passion to achieve very highly at the Phoenix.” 

Coaches background:

Darije Kalezić

– 47-year-old Dutch manager with eight years head coaching experience across the top two divisions in the Netherlands, England, Belgium and Saudi Arabia

– a former professional player with a nineteen-year career as a defender in Bosnia and the Netherlands, including more than ten seasons in the Eredivisie (top flight).

– won the Eerste Divisie title with De Graafschap in 2010 in his first full season as head coach, helping the club bounce straight back from relegation

– extensive experience coaching and developing youth talent, at De Graafschap, at Roda JC and with Jong PSV (second division based youth team of PSV Eindhoven)

– pivotal in the development of young players such as Dutch international Luke De Jong, former Liverpool recruit Oussama Assaidi and former Southampton winger Steve De Ridder

– signed Australian players Tomi Juric, Daniel De Silva, Rostyn Griffiths whilst working in the Dutch first division with Roda JC, also coached Sydney FC’s Jordy Buijs at De Graafschap

– coached against Louis van Gaal as well as John van ‘t Schip in the Eredivisie, and as a player learned under former Tottenham coach Martin Jol

– spent seven years at De Graafschap, first as a player, then as a youth coach, was promoted within the club environment to reserves coach, assistant coach and then head coach

– is a firm believer in the methods of world-renowned Dutch fitness & conditioning coach Raymond Verheijen and his theories of periodisation

Rado Vidosic will be Kevin Muscat's assistant at Melbourne Victory.

Rado Vidošić

– 55-year-old Croatian-born Australian coach with a decade’s experience coaching in the A-League as a head coach, assistant coach and technical director with Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory

– a three time A-League championship winner, twice with Roar and once with Victory, with a premiership won at Brisbane as well

– incredibly well-regarded for his knowledge of the Australian player market and his contacts inside Australian football

– responsible for bringing Besart Berisha to the A-League, scouted him for Brisbane Roar while the Albanian was training at Arminia Bielefield alongside his son Dario

– since leaving Melbourne Victory has been working extensively translating the footballing philosophies of Portuguese master Dr Vitor Frade