Aurelio Vidmar and Paul Okon to coach national youth sides

Paul Okon and Aurelio Vidmar have been appointed as coaches of the Qantas Young Socceroos and Qantas Under 22 Men's National Team.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) announced today the appointment of two former Socceroos as coaches of Australian Men-s Youth Teams leading up to major championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Aurelio Vidmar has been appointed the Head Coach of the new Qantas Australian U-22 Men-s National Team leading up to the inaugural AFC U-22 Championships which has a qualifying tournament to be played in late June 2012 and finals to be held in January 2014.

This new event will be held every two years. The second edition in January 2016 will constitute the qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Vidmar will also continue in his role as the Assistant Coach of the Qantas Socceroos for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Paul Okon has been appointed as the Head Coach of the Qantas Young Socceroos (Australian U-20 Men-). This team will compete in the AFC U-19 Championships in the UAE in November of this year, which will also serve as the qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in Turkey in June/ July 2013.

Okon will also be Aurelio Vidmar-s Assistant Coach for the Qantas Australian U-22 Men-s National team, the same position he held for the recent Olympic Qualifiers. This appointment will ensure continuity in the elite player development pathway.

FFA-s National Technical Director, Han Berger, said that these two coaches have been developing throughout the coaching pathway and are coaches of the highest quality. Both are currently completing their Pro Licenses, and have now had considerable experience in our national teams.

“We have been intent on not only developing a growing pool of talented players, but also the pool of talented coaches. It-s very satisfying to see Paul and Aurelio taking responsibility for our national teams.”

“The group of players who will be involved in the Qantas Young Socceroos are players born in 1993 or later.

“These players will graduate from the Qantas Young Socceroos of 2012 and 2013, to the Qantas Australian U-22-s of 2014 and 2015, and on to the 2016 Olympic Games. So there is a consistent pathway there for them.

“We will be selecting this Qantas Young Socceroos group to play in the AFC U-22 Qualification Tournament which will be held in Indonesia in June /July of this year.

“Even though they will be 2 years below the Under 22 age group at that time, we think this group of players will be competitive, and the experience will be invaluable for the AFC U-19 Championships which they will compete in in November. Being a qualification tournament for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, this is a major priority for us.

This sequence of events gives us the opportunity to develop this group of players from June 2012 through until the Olympic Games of 2016 and beyond. They are a talented group and it is an exceptional opportunity to develop this generation,” concluded Berger.