Victory has win with coach - February 6 2014

Victory has win with coach

February 6 2014

Shepparton News

Englishman Louis Clark will be hoping for a better experience, when he returns to Australia to take on the senior coaching role at Cobram Victory this season.

Clark, 23, endured a torrid time in his brief stint at Albury Wodonga Football Association club Myrtleford last year.

The attacking midfielder was subjected to racial vilification from crowds and racked up five yellow cards and two reds in the opening 14 rounds.

The abuse triggered Clark’s final indiscretion, which resulted in a seven-week suspension.

It was at that point he flew back to England, before returning to the United States, where he completed his studies at Syracuse University and took on an assistant coaching job with the college soccer team.

The Victory lured Clark back to regional Victoria as a replacement for outgoing senior coach Craig Carley, after a deal with 2012 premiership player Nathan Thomas fell through in December.

Whether his temperament will stand up to the sometimes hostile atmosphere of Regional Premier League matches remains to be seen.

Victory president Tony Startari said Clark would be a big asset in the club’s bid to rebuild, following the departure of at least six players from last year’s squad.

‘‘Nathan was our number one choice going back to August when Craig said he was out,’’ Startari said.

‘‘He just couldn’t commit this year 100 per cent. He lives in Corowa and he’s got two young kids plus a pregnant wife, so it’s just the wrong year. He’ll coach Victory at some stage, but not this year.

‘‘Louis started with Myrtleford last year and had a bit of a problem there with the spectators. Because Albury aren’t used to these high-profile imports coming into their league they don’t like it and all three Myrtleford boys copped it and he couldnt’ handle it, so he went home.

‘‘He just wants to come back and try again.

‘‘It’s a new beginning for us and we got some great service out of the last lot (of imports) for four years, (but), it’s a chance for everyone to step up. As I said to the boys that are here at the moment, he’s a new bloke, he doesn’t know anyone and we’re pretty excited about the oncoming season.’’

Startari echoed the sentiments of Tatura president Mimmo Lia, who this week suggested pickings were slim on the coaching front, as the wait continues over the region’s National Premier Leagues Victoria bid.

However, also like the Ibises, the Victory seem to have secured a highly talented individual.

Clark grew up in Brighton, England, and spent time at English third division club Brighton and Hove Albion and conference side Lewes, before moving to the US, where he registered 25 goals and 11 assists in 53 games across three seasons and was considered a genuine Major League Soccer SuperDraft prospect.

Victory junior development coach Richard Gatcum has been taking pre-season training, with Clark expected to arrive late next week.

The Victory were the final RPL club to appoint a senior coach, with the new season due to kick-off in about 10 weeks.


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