Glory’s Football and Academy Director Jacob Burns believes that exciting times lie ahead for the restructured two-star PGFC Academy.
Former Glory midfielder Steven McGarry has been appointed Technical Director for the age groups from 12 through to 16 and will also take charge of the Under-18s Academy team.
Another former Glory player and Socceroo, Richard Garcia, meanwhile, will be Head Coach of the Foxtel Youth Team this season in addition to his responsibilities as Assistant Coach of the Hyundai A-League team.
The Under-20s will be run by a third ex-Glory playing representative in the form of Michael Garcia and Burns is delighted that such a highly-credentialed and experienced trio are installed in these key positions.
“Richard Garcia knows what it means to wear the purple shirt,” he said. “He brings incredible dedication and provides that clear connection from the youth teams upwards given that he will be retaining his position as Assistant Coach with the A-League team.
“We’re very pleased with his appointment and know that he’ll prove to be a wonderful asset.
“Michael is a vastly experienced coach who also played for the club and the Olyroos. He’s head of our Community Glory Training Centre, so he has a connection with the pathway and is another great asset for the Academy.
“Steven, meanwhile, will link the junior guys through to the top end of the Academy pool.
“He’s someone who has been a tremendous servant for the club over a number of years, initially as a player and more recently as a coach.
“He’s been doing some great things in development in WA for the past five or six years and it’s a great coup for the club that we’ve managed to bring someone of Stevie’s calibre into the Technical Director role.
“I’m sure he’ll thrive in that role and the coaches will thrive underneath him.
“From Tony Popovic and Hayden Foxe, to Danny Milosevic, Richard Garcia, Michael Garcia and Steven McGarry, if I’m an aspiring young WA player seeing those names with that experience, I would be excited at the prospect of being a part of the PGFC Academy.
“You would be hard-pressed to find a better group of like-minded individuals from an experience and accreditation point of view to guide our WA talent into our A-League and hopefully our national team as well.”
McGarry, meanwhile, is thrilled to be back on board with the club for whom he made 114 appearances between 2009 and 2014.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the new coaching structure,” he said.
“It’s a new era with some very positive changes having been made from top to bottom.
“My role at ECU Joondalup stood me in good stead and I worked with some tremendous people and players there.
“Now I’m looking forward to transitioning into the only pro club in WA in a role that provides the opportunity to work with the best young players in the state.
“It’s really important that, collectively, we create an environment where players can excel.”
One of McGarry’s first tasks will be to head up the Academy’s prestigious European tour which is set to start later this month, a trip that Burns feels illustrates the elite standards already in place at the club.
“The tour group is a mix of ’02, ’03 and ’04-born players,” he explained.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for our two-star Academy players to test themselves against some of the best Academies in the world in Barcelona and Manchester City.
“It’s going to be a wonderful trip which will also involve games against Middlesbrough and Sunderland and Stevie will be leading that.
“The lads will be able to experience the stadia and the training complexes and get a real taste of European football and I think that will go a long way in terms of their development as players and people.
“It’s something that has taken a lot of work to organise and I’m sure the players are more than looking forward to.
“We’ll continue to build relationships and take our various age groups to the various tournaments around the world.
“This is the Academy’s first European tour and hopefully the first of many more to come.”