Head Coach Ufuk Talay

  • D.O.B. 26/3/76
  • Born Sydney, Australia

Biography

Ufuk Talay is entering this third season as Head Coach of the Wellington Phoenix.

> History

Ufuk Talay arrived at the Phoenix in May 2019 from A-League Grand Finalists, Sydney FC.

The Turkish-born Midfielder had enjoyed a brilliant playing career before making the transition to coaching; having coached the Young Socceroos, he was hand-picked by Steve Corica to assist him at Sydney FC and in the 2018/19 A-League season, he helped Sydney FC win the Grand Final.

Talay was also the Assistant Coach for the Australia U-17 squad from 2013–2016 and the Head Coach of the Australia U-20 squad from 2016–2018.

> 2019/20 A-League Season

In Talay’s first season at the helm, he led Wellington to a Club-record third-place regular season finish; before the escalating Covid situation halted the team’s momentum in March 2020, with a forced relocation to Australia to ensure the A-League could complete its season.

During this season, Talay picked up two major awards in his first year coaching in the A-League:

He was voted the A-League Coach of the Month for December with an overwhelming 72% of the vote, beating out Sydney FC coach Steve Corica in the process.

And he was named as Coach in The Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) A-League Team of the Season, as voted in by the players of each club at the conclusion of the regular season.

> 2020/21 A-League Season

With the Phoenix forced to re-locate to Wollongong, Australia for the entirety of the 2020/21 A-League season, Talay’s side finished in seventh place – just one point away from a top six finish. The Club played particularly well in the second half of the campaign, setting a new Club record by going 11 matches undefeated to finish out the season.

Following the end of the season, Talay said he considered it a privilege to coach the Phoenix.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time last season while we lived in Wellington, as did my family, and this Club gave me my first opportunity as coach in the A-League so I owe them a bit of gratitude as well.

“I also understand that the role is not an easy one, it’s a privilege as the Phoenix is the only professional football club in the country – and I thoroughly enjoy my job, I love football and if I can help the Club achieve what it wants to achieve in the next few seasons then that’s a great thing.''

> 2021/22 A-League Season

In May 2021 the Phoenix announced that Talay had extended his contract for two more seasons – ensuring he would be leading the Nix through the 2022/23 season.

Talay says he is excited to continue his future at the Phoenix and there were a lot of factors in his decision.

“The biggest thing for me with my decision was having been here for two years already, already having a great relationship with the Board, the Club and of course the fans,” said Talay.

And what we achieved in season one [was a factor], while season two has been a more challenging one for myself and for the players – but we’ve still played a great brand of football, we’ve been very competitive and we’re still in the mix for Finals football which is great thing.”

“So for me, I was always here with a plan to be here for a while – I think it’s important to have longevity with a club and so to sign on for another two years is great for myself, and also for the Club in terms of both that stability and consistency for the future.”

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