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Feb 20, 2022   |  2:50PM AET

The new ‘Aussies Abroad’ list: Elite coaches overseas

The new ‘Aussies Abroad’ list: Elite coaches overseas

From the A-Leagues to overseas, but as a coach.

It is a growing trend in recent years with an emerging list of Australian coaches showcasing their exploits abroad, most of whom have come through our men’s and women’s competitions at some point as a player, or mentor.

“There’s no reason why we aren’t better than the coaches in Europe,” Michael Valkanis told KEEPUP in a recent interview.

Whether it’s in Scotland, Italy, the UK or Japan, the Australian flag is flying high – in both male, and female competitions.

Ange Postecoglou is the ultimate pioneer, but there are others doing impressive work around the football planet.

To coincide with the resumption of the J.League this weekend, with Kevin Muscat helming Yokohama F.Marinos, KEEPUP looks at the A-Leagues alumni now coaching outside of Oz.

All abroad, all via the A-Leagues.

Ange Postecoglou (Celtic – Scottish Premiership, manager)

Top of the tree is former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory head coach Postecoglou. A trailblazer for Australian football, he won back-to-back championships in Brisbane, having enjoyed great success with South Melbourne in the NSL. The 56-year-old’s career has gone from strength to strength since leaving Victory for Australia in 2013 – tasting Asian Cup (Socceroos) and J1 League (Yokohama F.Marinos) glory. Postecoglou already has a trophy under his belt in his first season with Celtic, where he has completely transformed the Scottish powerhouse and has the Bhoys top of the table.

Joe Montemurro (Juventus Women – Serie A Women, head coach)

Joe Montemurro now calls Turin home. The Australian is at the forefront of an exciting era in women’s football with Italian powerhouse Juventus. After leaving Women’s Super League giants Arsenal at the end of 2020-21 with a league crown and League Cup in the bag, Montemurro already has a Supercoppa Femminile to his collection in northern Italy. The 52-year-old has enjoyed success wherever he has been. At Melbourne City, Montemurro delivered back-to-back Liberty A-League titles while also working as an assistant to the men’s A-League outfit. He created history in 2015-16 after City went through the entire women’s campaign without dropping a point.

Kevin Muscat (Yokohama F.Marinos – J1 League, head coach)

Once again, Kevin Muscat is following in the footsteps of Postecoglou. The captain of Melbourne Victory in their first A-League Men season in 2005, Muscat replaced Postecoglou as head coach at AAMI Park in 2013 after the now Celtic manager took charge of the Australian national team, having served as his assistant. Muscat delivered two A-League championships and the FFA Cup, playing an attacking brand of football, before opting to call time on his 14-year association with Victory in 2019. Once Postecoglou was lured to Glasgow by Celtic at the start of 2021-22, the Japanese club turned to Muscat. Just like he did at Victory, albeit in different circumstances, the latter stepped into fill the void left by compatriot Postecoglou in July. Muscat’s journey to Japan came after a short spell in charge of top-flight Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden.

Alen Stajcic (Philippines – International, head coach)

If you want to talk about miracles, look no further than Alen Stajcic. Somehow, the 48-year-old took minnows Philippines to the Women’s Asian Cup semi-finals against all odds, qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in the process. Between his stints in the international women’s game with the Matildas and Philippines, the former Liberty A-League title winner with Sydney FC had a few seasons reviving Central Coast in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Tanya Oxtoby (Chelsea Women – FA Women’s Super League, assistant)

Getting up close and personal with Emma Hayes is quite the experience and Tanya Oxtoby has been able to lean on the highly rated Chelsea head coach and 2021 Best FIFA Women’s Coach, working as her assistant in London. The former Glory centre-back and assistant, who played alongside Matildas superstar Sam Kerr in Perth, joined Chelsea last year. Oxtoby’s arrival offered Hayes a wealth of experience, with the 39-year-old having served as Bristol City’s manager between 2018 and 2021.

Peter Cklamovski (Montedio Yamagata – J2 League, head coach)

Postecoglou’s trusted number two for so long, Peter Cklamovski is now making waves on his own coaching journey via second-tier club Montedio Yamagata following a difficult spell in charge of J1 team Shimizu S-Pulse. After teaming up with Ange to end F.Marinos’ title drought in 2019, the former Perth Glory, Adelaide and Victory fitness coach had Montedio flirting with promotion against all odds last season, having faced the threat of relegation before his arrival. All eyes are on Montedio this season as they look to defy the odds and their budget with Cklamovski’s exciting brand of football.


John Hutchinson (El Paso Locomotive – USL Championship, head coach/technical director)

Central Coast Mariners great John Hutchinson is forging his own coaching career. Winning of a championship in Gosford, the popular 42-year-old will be based deep in the heart of Texas, taking on the dual role of head coach and technical director at USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive. Hutchinson’s unique journey comes after a spell with Postecoglou in Yokohama, which came to an end under Muscat last year. He also has coaching experience with Western United and Seattle Sounders.

Michael Valkanis (KAS Eupen – Belgian Pro League, assistant coach)

Now at Stefan Kramer’s Eupen, where Tim Cahill is a board member and Jimmy Jeggo is a new signing, Valkanis is coming off a two-and-half-year spell as John van’t Schip’s assistant with Greece – the latter resigning in November last year. Like he did in Melbourne via the Isuzu UTE A-League and PEC Zwolle in Holland, Valkanis followed Van’t Schip to Greece in 2019, tasked with guiding the Euro 2004 champions to the World Cup in Qatar. The pair share a close relationship, established from their time together at AAMI Park, where former Adelaide United captain Valkanis was head coach of Melbourne City in 2017.

Shaun Ontong (Yokohama F.Marinos – J1 League, assistant coach)

The 34-year-old is making a name for himself with F.Marinos in the J1 League. The former A-Leagues full-back, who played for Adelaide and Newcastle Jets, first worked with Postecoglou in Yokohama and now Muscat. Ontong spent time together with current Jets boss Arthur Papas at NPL club Oakleigh Cannons, where the latter was head coach in 2010-11. Papas eventually made the move to India and Ontong soon followed, teaming up at Dempo in 2013. After Dempo, Ontong also worked as an assistant for fellow Indian clubs Northeast United and Kerala Blasters before making the move to F.Marinos in 2020. He has not looked back.


David Zdrilic (Genoa – Serie A, *assistant coach)

From Germany and the United States to Belgium. Former Sydney FC striker and A-League Men championship winner David Zdrilic is building quite the coaching CV. The ex-Socceroo worked closely with German mastermind Ralph Rangnick during his time at RB Leipzig from 2017-2020 before making the switch to MLS outfit Chicago Fire. Zdrilic returned to Europe in 2021, reunited with Alexander Blessin, who he coached under at Leipzig, as Oostende assistant. Blessin was poached by struggling Serie A side Genoa and Zdrilic has been spotted on the bench, though no official wording has come through on his appointment.

Belinda Wilson (FIFA, technical development manager)

It does not get much more prestigious than working for football’s governing body – FIFA. Belinda Wilson was appointed as senior technical development manager two years ago, working with the Women’s Football Division based in Zurich. It has been a long road for Wilson, who earned her first coaching badge at the age of 16. Since then, she has gone on to coach professionally in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Guam, and of course, Australia, where she was head coach of Brisbane Roar from 2012 to 2016.

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