Football Federation Australia (FFA) has appointed respected Belgian youth coach Eric Abrams as the new Technical Director to oversee the Elite Youth Player Development and Coach Education strategies of Australian football.
Abrams, who holds a UEFA Pro License, joins the FFA following a long career in youth development where he guided the youth structures in Belgium from 2002-2013, which has seen the emergence of a “Golden Generation” of players.
During his tenure as Belgium U15 and U17 National Team Head Coach, Abrams help guide the youth careers of Belgium’s FIFA World Cup stars Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, Romulu Lukaku and Jan Verthongen.
“We are delighted to announce that Eric Abrams has been appointed as Technical Director,” said FFA CEO David Gallop. “Eric has all the skills and attributes we were looking for when we set out on a world-wide recruitment process.
“Eric will head all of our elite pathway and youth development structures in line with the National Curriculum that has been in place since 2009.
“Eric has an impressive background in elite youth development in Belgium and has played an integral role in producing what the technical experts believe is one of the strongest groups of international players in world football.
“We look forward to Eric continuing the refinement of the youth and coach education structure to ensure we develop world class elite players for the Socceroos, Matildas, the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League.”
The new structure follows a review of the FFA’s technical structure by FFA Head of National Performance Luke Casserly, which highlighted youth technical development as a key area for improvement.
Under the new structure, Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou will oversee all the underage and senior national men’s team and Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic will oversee all the underage and senior women’s national teams.
Abrams will take responsibility for nurturing elite players and the coach education to assist the programs for male and female players up to the age of 16, with the aim of providing a bigger pool of technically gifted players for national selection.
“Eric’s appointment is the result of a formal review of the youth structures of Australian football and a long recruitment process to ensure we found the person that compliments where we thought we had some holes in that elite pathway,” Casserly said.
“A big part of his role will be to work with Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League clubs and our State and Territory Member Federations to ensure our programs are aligned and world-class.
“He will be responsible for elite players up to the age of 16 and then work closely with Ange Postecoglou and Alen Stajcic as the National team Head Coaches, who will play a broader role to ensure consistency through all of our National teams from U17s through to the Socceroos and Matildas.”
Abrams will commence work once the necessary visa requirements are finalised.
“I’m excited to be starting work with the youth structures in Australia,” Abrams said. “I have heard a lot about Australian football and I look forward to working with the players and coaches to help develop young players for the local leagues and National Teams.”
ERIC ABRAMS – BIOGRAPHY
2013-2014 Head Coach Al Ahli U15 – Winner of King’s Cup in Saudi Arabia
Co-ordinator Al Ahli U15-U14
2002-2013 National Team Head Coach Belgium U15-U17
Participation in tournaments:
Eliteround U17 in Slovakia 2004
Eliteround U17 in Belgium 2005
European Championship U17 in Luxemburg 2006
World Championship U17 in South-Korea 2007
Eliteround U17 in Spain 2009
Eliteround U17 in Belgium 2012
Qualification Eliteround U17 in Scotland 2013
2011-2013 Coordinator Topsport schools(5) for the Flanders Football Federation
1993-2013 Lecturer Federal Coach Education KBVB (Belgian FA) for Uefa B, Uefa A and Uefa A Youth Elite, Uefa A Pro License courses
1998-2011 Coach/coordinator Topsport Foot-Elite, Highschool Genk
Players coached as National Team Head Coach during the period 2002-2013
Vincent Kompany (Belgium A-international-Manchester City)
Eden Hazard (Belgium A-international-Chelsea)
Romulu Lukaku (Belgium A-international-Everton)
Kevin Debruyne (Belgium A-international-Wolfsburg)
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium A-international-Atletico Madrid)
Jan Verthongen (Belgium A-international-Tottenham Hotspur)
Dries Mertens (Belgium A-international-Napoli)
Steven Defour (Belgium A-international-Porto FC)
Simon Mignolet (Belgium A-international-Liverpool)
Anthony Vandenborre (Belgium A-international-RSC Anderlecht)
Kevin Mirallas (Belgium A-international-Everton)
Axel Witsel (Belgium A-international-Zenith St Petersburg)
Jelle Vossen (Belgium A-international-KRC Genk)
Mehdi Carcela (Morocco A-international-Standard Liege)
Koen Casteels (Belgium A-international-Hoffenheim)
Toby Alderweireld (Belgium A-international-Atletico Madrid)
Paolo Mpoku (Belgium U21-international-Standard Liege)
Maxim Lestienne (Belgium U21-international-Club Brugge)
Thorgan Hazard (Belgium U21-international-Chelsea)
Dennis Praet (U21-international-RSC Anderlecht)
2013 - 2014 Head Coach Al Ahli U15 – Winner of King’s Cup in Saudi Arabia
2002 – 2013 National Team Head Coach Belgium U15-U17
2001 – 2002 SK Tongeren (3rd Division, Belgium) - Head coach
1998 – 1999 KRC Genk (Premier League, Belgium) - Academy Director
1987 – 1988 Wellen VV (4th Division, Belgium) - Player Central Defender
1985 – 1987 Hoeselt VV (3rd Division, Belgium) - Player
1984 – 1985 Verbroedering Meerhout (4th Division, Belgium) - Player
1979 – 1984 Sporting Alken (4th Division, Belgium) - Player
1975 – 1979 KFC Winterslag (Premier League and 2nd Division, Belgium)- Player
Bachelor Physical Education
UEFA A/Elite Youth
UEFA Pro License