Western Sydney have announced a change in their coaching ranks with former assistant Ian Crook to become Technical Director of the Wanderers’ Elite Academy structure.
Crook’s excellence in developing the stars of the future has been evident during a largely celebrated coaching career at both the senior and junior elite level.
Following the completion of the Wanderers’ 42 match AFC Champions League winning season, Crook has stepped down from his Hyundai A-League Assistant Coach role with the club to concentrate solely on the development and implementation of the Wanderers Elite Academy.
Having been involved in youth development since his first coaching job with Northern Spirit, his early years saw him bring youngsters Brett Holman and Alex Wilkinson through the ranks and he has continued to progress young talent into the elite senior ranks his entire career.
More recently, Wanderers Daniel Alessi, Steve Kuzmanovski and Shayne D’Cunha were all under Crook at Football NSW as were a number of other Hyundai A-League players including Liam Rose, Anthony Kalik and Hagi Gligor.
With the Wanderers’ Foxtel Youth League side having already produced a number of first team players – including eight current Young Socceroos – Crook will bring the same focus on development to the academy.
The establishment of the academy will provide a genuine pathway for players from Western Sydney all the way from the junior age groups to the first team and Crook cannot wait to get started.
“I’m excited to return to elite youth development because this project is something new and I’ll have the opportunity to mould and develop players for our first team using the talent of Western Sydney for which our region has always been known for,” said Crook.
“Success will be deemed by how many players from Western Sydney end up in the Hyundai A-League and in the Socceroos. This club has worked heavily in the past three years on developing good attributes in individuals and we want to continue that.
“We’ll have good coaches in place and a template for the coaches to work with that will give the players the best chances of becoming a first team player.”
With a keen eye for talent and a deep working knowledge of the Western Sydney region, Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas says Crook is the ideal man for the job.
“Ian Crook has an excellent pedigree in the identification and training of young footballers built over a lifetime coaching and playing,” said Tsatsimas.
“Our reach across Western Sydney to identify and progress the best talent will be second to none. We have scouting networks in clubs and schools throughout our seven core associations and we will be vigorous in unearthing and developing the best young talent Western Sydney has to offer.
“This forms a significant part of the creating a sustainable long-term model and will become the platform for future generations of Wanderers to take the step into elite football.”