Football Australia today announced that it has commenced a recruitment process for the appointment of the next Head Coach of the ‘Olyroos’ – Australia’s U-23 men’s national football team.
Following the recent conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold and his staff will shift their focus solely to the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ campaign.
Arnold was appointed to lead the Socceroos through to the conclusion of Australia’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ campaign in March 2018. Five months later, it was confirmed that Arnold and his staff would also take charge of Australia’s U-23 men’s national football team program, with the aim of growing Australia’s elite player pool and streamlining Olyroos representatives into the Socceroos set-up post-Tokyo being key objectives.
The past three years have been a successful period for the Olyroos on the pitch, with Arnold and his staff having guided Australia to a third-place finish at the AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand, and with that a place in the Men’s Football Tournament at Tokyo 2020. This was the first time that Australia had secured qualification for the Men’s Football Tournament at the Olympic Games since Arnold was at the helm for Beijing 2008.
At Tokyo 2020, the Olyroos produced some fantastic performances, most notably on matchday one when Australia defeated South American heavyweights Argentina 2-0 in Sapporo. Australia fell just short of a draw against eventual Silver Medallists Spain on matchday two, before being defeated 2-0 by Egypt on matchday three in Miyagi.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, today acknowledged Arnold and his staff for managing the Olyroos’ program in addition to their commitments with the Socceroos over the past three years.
We would like to place on record our thanks to Graham (Arnold) and his staff for their enormous contribution to the Olyroos program over the past three years,” Johnson said.
“Through their passion for Australian football and commitment to Australian kids, Graham and his staff took on the Olyroos in addition to their roles with the Socceroos, with the aim of helping to develop Australia’s elite player depth and to return Australia to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Having achieved both goals, Graham and his staff will now place their full focus on guiding the Socceroos to next year’s FIFA World Cup™, as was always the plan post-Games,” he said.
Arnold, who attended his fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo, reflected fondly on the experience of being Head Coach of the Olyroos for a second time, describing the period as one of the most enjoyable of his career.
“The past three years have been a fantastic journey for myself, my staff, and the players involved with the Olyroos,” Arnold said. “While 22 players made it to Japan, well over 60 were involved at various times throughout the cycle, and I trust that they all took positives away from being involved with the program between 2018 and 2021.”
“We started our journey with midweek camps at the AIS in Canberra, and over the last three years it took various squad and staff members to Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Qatar, China, Spain, and Japan. Importantly, this group managed to return Australia to the prestigious Men’s Football Tournament at the Olympic Games, and everyone involved in that process should take pride in that achievement.
“I believe there are many players who were involved over the past three years that are ready to take further steps forward in their careers, both with the Socceroos and at club level. Together with my staff, we look forward to supporting the players achieve their goals, and will work collaboratively with the next technical staff of the Olyroos to ensure that they are in the best possible position to take the program forward leading up to Paris,” he said.