National women’s soccer coach Tom Sermanni at Coffs Harbour.
National women’s soccer coach Tom Sermanni at Coffs Harbour. Bruce Thomas

Matilda's coach is an inspiration

DON’T let the change of hair colour fool you, Matilda’s coach Tom Sermanni has not fallen victim to vanity.

In fact the reason behind the red tinge in his hair and lack of his customary moustache is more to do with the playing group that he is in charge of.

“It’s stages of desperation. As a coach you do most things to get players motivated and six months ago the players said ‘if we win the Asian Cup can we dye your hair’,” Sermanni explained.

“I said ‘you can do whatever you like if you win the Asian Cup’ apart from body piercing and tattoos they could do whatever they liked.

“They had been at me for years to try and dye my hair.”

As the coach of the national team Sermanni is no stranger to Coffs Harbour but he was in town this week to run his eye over the young talent performing at the National Youth Championships for Girls.

“I’m just observing how the next group of talent is coming through, seeing how the game is progressing, seeing how the teams are doing here,” he said.

“Han Berger and Alistair Edwards have put in the new technical directions that we want to look at and see how it has all been implemented and it’s all going really well.”

As a regular attendee at this annual tournament, Sermanni was quick to point out what he thinks of the standard of football that this year’s group has produced.

“A huge improvement,” he said.

“The difficult thing now is picking out the best players. In the past it was easier to pick out the best players because they were of a much higher standard than the others.

“What we’re seeing now is an improvement across the board which means the skill level of all of the players has improved so it has actually become a little more difficult to identify the better ones.

“This is a good thing. You look at the quality of the football and the skills of the players, but also the athleticism of the players which has been a huge improvement over the last three or four years.”

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