The Young Socceroos have found the coach that will guide them into the future, with the FFA announcing on Thursday that Matildas’ assistant Gary van Egmond is set to assume the role.
van Egmond has served as an assistant with Australia’s women since 2015, including at the most recent World Cup where he served under Ante Milicic. During that period, the 53-year-old has also been in charge of the Young Matildas, overseeing their qualification to this October and November’s AFC U-19 Women’s Championship.
Coincidentally it was Milicic – who will steer the Matildas through the 2020 Olympics before becoming new A-League side Macarthur FC’s first Head Coach – who created the Young Socceroos vacancy van Egmond will now fill when he accepted the Matildas’ role.
Prior to his tenure with Australia’s national sides, van Egmond was a long-time coach with A-League side Newcastle Jets, guiding the club to an A-League Championship in 2007-08.
A 15-time Socceroo, van Egmond also spent time with Footscray JUST, Marconi, Roda JC and Wollongong Wolves over a playing career that spanned almost 20 years.
He will now be tasked with guiding the Young Socceroos on their quest to return to the U20 World Cup for the first time since 2013; Australia’s youth failing to reach the junior showcase for its previous three iterations.
The Young Socceroos – who finished fourth in the 1991 and 1993 U20 World Cups – last advanced out of the group stage in 2003.
To qualify for the 2021 version, van Egmond will first have to navigate his new group through qualifying for the 2020 AFC U19 Championship this November.
Drawn in Group H alongside Laos, Macau and Chinese Taipei; Australia’s U19s will commence their campaign against Laos on November 6, Macau on November 8 and Chinese Taipei on November 10. All games are set to be played in Chinese Taipei.
A first-place finish in the group would ensure progression to the 2020 Championships – which are at present without a host nation – as would finishing as one of the five best second-placed finishers out of the 11 groups.
The Young Socceroos crashed out in the quarterfinals of the 2018 AFC U19 Champions after a 3-1 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Saudi Arabia.
FFA Head of National Teams Luke Casserly, who is currently a part of a recently introduced review of Australia’s junior football pathways, welcomed van Egmond’s appointment.
“When assessing candidates for the role, we wanted to appoint someone who had experience at international level with junior teams,” Casserly said
“Someone who had experience in navigating a difficult qualification path across Asia and someone who had a strong understanding of our junior development programs and Gary ticks every box.”
Also announced by the FFA was the appointment of Socceroos hero Tony Vidmar, who departed the coaching staff of Melbourne City after last season and recently assisted the Socceroos for their friendly against South Korea, as a permanent assistant to Socceroos boss Graham Arnold.
“Tony joined us for the camp in South Korea and it was clear from the first day that he was a great fit,” Arnold said
“There was a great level of respect for him amongst the playing group and his football experience both as a player and a coach will be invaluable for us as we prepare for an important period for our senior men’s national team.
“Our World Cup qualification journey has already started. Our camp in South Korea showed that the talent pool is getting deeper and with our World Cup Qualifiers commencing in September, followed by the Copa America next year, it is an exciting time for our senior men’s national team.”