Wehrman dips toe in coaching waters

Kasey Wehrman has a new love... coaching, and if he has his way it will hopefully be a non-stop trip to the top of the game.

Forced into retirement after a messy divorce with the Newcastle Jets last season, the former Qantas Socceroo is eyeing footballing redemption with his newest love - coaching.

The 35-year-old has been appointed the inaugural boss of Australian Premier League foundation club Western Pride, based in the booming Ipswich region just west of Brisbane.

Ideally, Wehrman would still be wearing the red and blue of the Hunter club in the Hyundai A-League this term, screening a young Jets back four and feeding balls through to a new and exciting strikeforce, featuring the one and only Emile Heskey.

But a public spat and mutual misunderstanding with coach Gary van Egmond over the club's new tactical direction saw Wehrman frozen out of Newcastle and his playing days brought to a premature end.

It wasn't exactly the way Wehrman - an NSL championship winner with Brisbane Strikers before he carved out a decade-long career in Norway - thought he'd be hanging up the boots.

"Not everyone gets to retire and walk out of the stadium like (rugby league legend) Darren Lockyer or something like that," he said.

"In some ways there's a bit of regret there, I suppose, that you wish it could have ended a bit better.

"Would I have liked to have played another season? Yeah, of course I would. But every player wants to play another season, and another season, and another season, until you're broken.

"Things didn't end great between me and Gary, but since then we've talked and patched it up.

"Mistakes were made on both sides of the camp, which we both admitted. We can probably say now we're mates, if anything."

Wehrman has moved on - and in a big way.

He is at the helm of a club that Queensland Football has earmarked as a potential expansion market for the national competition.

It is still very early days - Wehrman is only now running his eye over the talent in south-east Queensland so he can assemble a squad for the inaugural APL season in 2013.

But he knows there is incredible room for growth in the western corridor of Brisbane.

"There's a lot going on there at the moment - there's so much construction. It's exploding, Ipswich is growing," he said.

"It's always been a proud sporting area as well, whether it be cricket or softball or rugby league or football.

"There's a lot of talent out there. We just want to make sure we harness it. If we can do that with some steady growth then this is potentially a club that in the next 10 to 15 years could be an A-League club.

"The council in Ipswich has gotten right behind us as well. They've torn up Ipswich Reserve out there where the Jets (the state league rugby league team) play to make sure we can play on alternate weekends.

"They're looking for grounds around there as well for the juniors and first grade to make sure they have a place to train.

"They're not holding back at all in giving us the funds and grants we need to make sure the kids are out there and the senior boys have the best of the best."

Wehrman has all the necessary coaching qualifications to suggest that under his watch and with the guidance of the club hierarchy, the Pride could very well develop into a genuine nursery of talent.

He obtained his UEFA B License back when he was in Norway and is about to be sent to Canberra to earn the AFC A License.

After that, he wants a Pro License. Then after that, the sky is the limit.

"That's the aim, of course, to test my own skills and see if I'm up to it. Coaching at the highest possible level is the ultimate goal," Wehrman said.

"I enjoyed the challenge when I played football and I'm sure I'll enjoy this one as well.

"I always used to duck my head into the coach's dressing room when I was a player.

"The difficult thing is starting a team from scratch. It's not easy. You're going to let people down, as well - we had 34-odd players out there for the first trial with the men's team and we can only take 20-odd."

Wehrman's own experience in football probably has him better prepared than most for the man management side of the game, and the heartbreaking task of letting people go.

No coach enjoys it, but this Cloncurry boy has a newfound sense of perspective in both life and sport that should have him equipped for all the ups and downs his new gig will bring.

"At the end of the day it ends the way it ends," he said, looking back on his career.

"You've just got to pinch yourself and look back at all the good times and where it took you, and the places you got to see and the things you got to do and the teams you got to play in.

"The last four or five months weren't such a great time because I didn't play but what was meant to be, was meant to be. Now let's get on with the next phase and keep going with my coaching."