South Coast Flame is delighted to announce next years’ senior men’s coaching team.
It is an all-new coaching lineup for next season with each coach taking charge of their respective teams for the first time.
Darren Jones will take the reins of the first-grade squad officially having coached the side in a caretaker capacity at the back-end of the turbulent 2021 campaign.
Jones has been involved with the club since its inception as both a player and a coach joining the Flame after 15 years of playing in the Illawarra Premier League.
“Having that combination of playing for a couple of years and coaching at the same time was really good for my development,” he said.
After coaching the side for the final two games of this season, Jones sees the biggest takeaway for the side as potential heading into next year.
He also emphasised that expectations will be high for the squad in 2022.
“I’m a very optimistic individual and I know there’s potential in this squad to actually improve significantly,” he said.
“Obviously I want to strengthen it, but there is a lot to look forward to.
“I’m setting the bar high; I want to go out there and try and win the competition – the minimum has to be finals football.
“The players that we’re getting to the table, the players that I’ve retained. I believe they’ve got the capabilities to help me achieve that goal.”
Jones will continue as Senior Technical Director of the club as well.
Adrian Karakolevski will be involved with the club for the first time as he takes over as the Senior Men’s Assistant Coach.
He brings to the club a significant amount of knowledge and understanding of the game.
Karakolevski had the privilege of being coached by some of the best coaches in Australia during his time at the New South Wales Institute of Sport and A-League during his playing career.
He looks forward to passing on all the knowledge and understanding of the game to all the players and working closely with everyone at South Coast Flame.
Stan Pappas will step up as the Under-20s coach for 2022 having coached with the Flame for nine years.
“I’m very excited. Already the head coach is making inroads in recruitment and talking to a lot of players,” he said.
“I can see now that the players are coming through the system, through the ‘16s, through the ‘18s.”
Pappas coached the Under-18s in the previous two seasons and will look to continue to develop players for the senior space.
“I think that’s what the ‘20s should be seen to be doing. That’s the scope. That’s the philosophy that’s behind that,” he said.
Pappas also emphasised the need to prepare players to be ready to step up and play for the first-grade squad.
“We need to be developing these players at any time for when the head coach calls them up,” he said.
“It’s very important the Under-20s works that way.”
Jason Spencer is the Under-18s coach for 2022 after guiding the Under-16s to a very successful campaign in 2021.
The side won the Bathurst Cup and produced a very strong showing in the NPL 2 Youth competition.
After coaching in Football South Coast local competitions, Spencer joined the club in 2020 where he took charge of the Under-15s team.
“They’re definitely a club that’s on the way up. They’re building a great culture – a very, very strong coaching team,” he said.
“I think from the board level down there are some bright things ahead in the future.”
Spencer is optimistic heading into next season after the positive performances from his squad in the season just finished.
“It was very tough in that second phase of last year. There were definitely some quality teams,” he said.
“I think the higher quality the teams that we play, I think better football we can get out of the boys.
“Definitely we set high expectations and standards throughout the club.”
South Coast Flame wish all new senior men’s coaches the best of luck heading into the 2022 season.