Wellington Phoenix are delighted to welcome vastly experienced US-Croatian coach Dario Pot as Darije Kalezić’s new assistant coach.
Pot spent eleven seasons as a professional footballer in the former Yugoslavia, Germany and the USA before retiring at 28 to take up his first coaching assistant role.
Pot comes with 16 years coaching experience in the USA, Bosnia and the Netherlands where he has worked as a coach educator for the US Soccer Federation, a technical advisor at the US Soccer Development Academy as well as various assistant and head coach roles including in the Bosnian Premier League where he won a League Cup and secured UEFA Cup qualification.
For head coach Kalezić it was Pot’s vast footballing experience and qualifications, as well as their shared working history that made the 45-year-old the outstanding candidate to take Phoenix forward.
“Dario is a coach with top credentials – he has the highest coaching licence [UEFA Pro Licence] and a Master’s degree in Sport Science from the USA.”
“Dario and I worked together in 2010 and 2011 at De Graafschap where we enjoyed great achievements, winning promotion together from the second division and maintaining our position in the top league [Eredivisie] the next season.”
“He has a very high level tactical awareness, but better than this, he has a good eye for individual development of the player – he’s very open, communicative and enjoys good relationships with the players. I’m delighted to work with Dario again.”
For Pot, the opportunity to work again with Kalezić as well as the chance to help develop football in New Zealand was too good to pass up.
“I’m excited to be here – these beautiful islands, this lovely city, but first and foremost to help the head coach, to provide the platform from which he can fulfil his philosophy and help the beautiful game develop in New Zealand.”
“Darije is a world class coach, he’s intelligent, passionate, driven – he improves the people around him constantly, and my role is very clear, to support Darije as well as all the staff, to improve the results of this football club.”
“My first impressions are very positive – the boys here are a great group, very teachable, willing to listen and develop as players, so I hope to be able to assist in communicating Darije’s vision as well as helping young Kiwi players improve.”
Pot was with the Phoenix for their recent matches in Australia against Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City but joins the staff at Westpac Stadium for the first time tonight as Wellington take on Melbourne Victory.