Wellington Phoenix are proud to officially announce Darije Kalezić and Rado Vidošić as their new head coach and assistant coach for the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League season and beyond.
With success winning titles in the Netherlands, fostering promising young talent and a proven track record in player recruitment, the football committee have absolute faith that Kalezić is the best man to lead Wellington Phoenix towards future success.
After a professional playing career spanning almost two decades with over ten seasons in the Dutch first division under managers such as Martin Jol, Kalezić rose through the ranks at De Graafschap, first as a youth coach, then reserves coach, first team assistant then head coach, returning the club to the top division in his first full season in charge.
Educated in the Dutch style of football, Kalezić has been instrumental in bringing through young talent, helping unearth and develop players such as Dutch international Luke De Jong, former Liverpool recruit Oussama Assaidi and former Southampton winger Steve De Ridder among many more.
But it was his ability not just to develop but also to identify and recruit talent that appealed to General Manager, David Dome.
“While the world is becoming ever smaller and more interconnected there is no substitute for a coach with such wide-reaching connections and networks, especially within top European clubs.”
It was Kalezić who through discussions with his old De Graafschap Technical Director Hans Berger that recommended Jordy Buijs to Sydney FC last season with the Dutch coach also consulted in bringing Romeo Castelen and Youssouf Hersi to Australia.
In Vidošić, Wellington Phoenix believe they have recruited one of the most knowledgeable and experienced assistant coaches in the competition’s history.
A premiership winner and back-to-back championship winner during his time at Brisbane Roar alongside Ange Postecoglou,Vidošić brings a forensic knowledge of the A-League as well as a proven track record in instilling a winning mentality within his squads.
A disciplined and detailed trainer, Vidošić, like Kalezić, has an exceptional record of garnering results that exceed the resources available to them.
It’s a high-calibre coaching duo that Dome feels compliments the club’s off field advances.
“Last season we spent more on the club – both on and off the field – than we have ever done previously”, said Dome.
“We invested significantly into players, a new training facility at Martin Luckie Park with the support of the Wellington City Council, and resources off the field.”
“This season will will continue to invest strategically – and we believe Darije and Rado have the skills and passion to achieve very highly at the Phoenix.”
Since the confirmation of their signings in mid-May, both Kalezić and Vidošić have been in contact with the football operations department and have begun the process of reviewing and refreshing Wellington Phoenix’s playing roster.
It is expected that several new player signings will be announced in coming weeks.
With participation in finals football still an expectation the chairman, board and general manager at the Wellington Phoenix would like to formally welcome both Darije and Rado to New Zealand and look forward to the club’s upward progress under their leadership.
Selected head and assistant coach background:
- 47-year-old Dutch manager with eight years head coaching experience across the top two divisions in the Netherlands, England, Belgium and Saudi Arabia
- a former professional player with a nineteen-year career as a defender in Bosnia and the Netherlands, including more than ten seasons in the Eredivisie (top flight).
- won the Eerste Divisie title with De Graafschap in 2010 in his first full season as head coach, helping the club bounce straight back from relegation
- extensive experience coaching and developing youth talent, at De Graafschap, at Roda JC and with Jong PSV (second division based youth team of PSV Eindhoven)
- pivotal in the development of young players such as Dutch international Luke De Jong, former Liverpool recruit Oussama Assaidi and former Southampton winger Steve De Ridder
- signed Australian players Tomi Juric, Daniel De Silva, Rostyn Griffiths whilst working in the Dutch first division with Roda JC, also coached Sydney FC’s Jordy Buijs at De Graafschap
- coached against Louis van Gaal as well as John van ‘t Schip in the Eredivisie, and as a player learned under former Tottenham coach Martin Jol
- spent seven years at De Graafschap, first as a player, then as a youth coach, was promoted within the club environment to reserves coach, assistant coach and then head coach
- is a firm believer in the methods of world-renowned Dutch fitness & conditioning coach Raymond Verheijen and his theories of periodisation
- 55-year-old Croatian-born Australian coach with a decade’s experience coaching in the A-League as a head coach, assistant coach and technical director with Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory
- a two time A-League championship winner with the Roar, with a premiership won at Brisbane as well
- incredibly well-regarded for his knowledge of the Australian player market and his contacts inside Australian football
- responsible for bringing Besart Berisha to the A-League, scouted him for Brisbane Roar while the Albanian was training at Arminia Bielefield alongside his son Dario
- since leaving Melbourne Victory has been working extensively translating the footballing philosophies of Portuguese master Dr Vitor Frade