A-League: A League of Evolution

Australian league evolving and reaching the next step in soccer relevance
by Perry Tsangas   |   Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oz Football – column on the Australian A-League, Socceroos & the Aussie soccer scene.

Even though Australian footballers dream of a career overseas, the A-League has evolved enough to keep talented youngsters at home for longer. It has also welcomed and embraced current Australian internationals Matthew Spiranovic, Matty McKay, Michael Zullo and James Troisi, who are all vying to be on the plane to Brasil next year.

Football Federation of Australia CEO David Gallop declared this week that football will become Australia’s No. 1 sport. The national competition last season saw attendances rise by 40% and television ratings increase by 100%. Further growth is expected as this season the A-League will be shown for the very first time on free to air television, with SBS2 showing the Friday night game live, as well as an entertainment show every Thursday night.

After 9 seasons, the A-League will finally be beamed to every Australian household. Added to this is the recent news that ABC Radio will broadcast every single A-League match. With FOXTEL’s continued dedication of showing every match in full HD, this season of the Hyundai A-League promises to be the most anticipated ever.

Equalisation methods such as the salary cap have made the A-League a punters worst nightmare. The competitive nature and evenness every week has forced the clubs and coaches to think smarter and more efficiently. In such a tight and close league, clubs need to think outside the square and identify themselves with a style and culture that fans can be proud of. “Style” is the new buzz word used at Adelaide United, who has employed Josef Gombau, a former Barcelona youth coach to the helm. The question is will his Australian players adapt to his system and embrace tiki-taka football?

Australian football has become about evolution. The standard of play is improving every year. A major reason is because coaches such as Ange Postecoglou, Tony Popovic and Graham Arnold have become more tactically astute and will no doubt take their teams to a higher level of play.

The top 3 clubs from last season won’t have it their own way, but what will be interesting to see is how their new inclusions fit into their prospective structures. As well as improving the standard of play these coaches have forced the competition to react to their success.

Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi will have a new assistant coach by the name of Gerard Nus. Formerly on Rafa Benitez’s coaching staff at Liverpool, Gerard Nus has also experience in the Championship with Brighton Hove Albion, assisting Gus Poyet. Heart has further strengthened their coaching staff by bringing back former manager John Van’t Schip as the clubs new technical director. In what is a make or break season for Heart, only a finals berth will suffice.

The Melbourne Derby promises to be a mouth-watering encounter for week 1 of the A-League, as well as the Grand Final rematch between Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers in front of a sell-out crowd. FFA is hopeful of breaking the attendance record of 94,000 across 5 games in round 1 of the A-League.

It promises to be an outstanding A-League season and many possibilities await. In a World Cup year, every player will be playing out of their skin in the hope of participating in the greatest sporting event on the planet. Maybe Gallop’s predictions will become a reality sooner rather than later?

Irrespective of this, football has enormous opportunities and the so called ‘sleeping giant’ has steadily awoken. 

Perry TSANGAS

Nationality:
Australia
College:
Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe
Club Domestic:
Melbourne Victory FC
Club Foreign:
PAS Giannina
Perry hopes he can contribute to the growth of Australian football and play the best ambassadorial role for the sport. Currently a coach of Victoria in 7-a-side football for players disabilities.
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