John Aloisi is one of Australia’s ‘Golden Generation’. He played more than 500 games for both club and country. He's also a very recognisable as part of the Optus Sport team that covers EPL, UEFA Champions League and currently the UEFA European Championships.

His senior playing career began at Adelaide City under Zoran Matic, before he headed to Europe to ply his trade in Belgium with Standard Liege and Antwerp, Italy with Cremonese, England with Portsmouth and Coventry, Spain with Osasuna and Alaves, before heading home to Australia to play in the Hyundai A-League with Central Coast Mariners, Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart.

In this episode, John speaks with Gary Cole about his early learnings as a player at the AIS under Ron Smith and Steve O’Connor, where he learned the principles of the game and positional behaviours that could apply in any system within any team. He says these principles have helped him throughout his career.

They also discuss his work as a pundit or ‘armchair coach’ and how this helps him as a coach.

John’s coaching career began at Melbourne Heart with the youth team and then Head Coach of the A-League team. A brief period with the youth team at Melbourne Victory before heading up to Brisbane to work with his brother Ross at Brisbane Roar, where they enjoyed finals football each year.

Enjoy this journey into John Aloisi’s Football Coaching Life.


Zeljko Kalac, perhaps better known as ‘Spider’ in Australian Football circles, played over 400 games for club and country, with 54 caps for the Socceroos over fourteen years.

Spider’s amazing career saw him play as a youngster with Sydney United before heading overseas to play in Holland with Roda and in Italy with AC Milan, winning a European Champions League.

Zeljko’s coaching journey commenced at Sydney FC as Goalkeeping Coach with Vitezslav Lavicka, then Frank Farina and Graham Arnold, before moving to West Sydney Wanderers to work alongside his good friend Tony Popovic.

Spider is our first goalkeeping coach on the podcast and discusses his journey and how it is to work as an assistant with some of Australia’s best coaches. He also speaks honestly about the goalkeeping coaches that helped him on his journey as a player and now as coaching mentors.

He also speaks to Gary Cole about his short stint as Head Coach of Sydney United 58, who went on to win an NPL Championship, as well as the culture of this great club that has helped to develop so many Socceroos and coaches.

Spider’s ‘One piece of wisdom’ for coaches: “Be open minded and willing to adapt because football is played in all sorts of ways. There is not a right or a wrong way to play.”

This is our first PG rated podcast as Spider is ruthlessly frank. As a wise man once said, ‘If you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question!’

Please enjoy this candid discussion about Zeljko Kalac’s Football Coaching Life.

Vicki Linton is one of Australia’s most experienced coaches. She is currently Head Coach of Canberra United in the Westfield W-League, where in the 2020-21 season they played finals football for the first time in four years; and where Vicki set up the first all-female technical department within a W-League team. Vicki is also responsible for player development within the Canberra United Academy.

Vicki has worked as a FIFA Women’s Football Instructor, running courses in Asia and Oceania. She also worked with the USA Soccer Federation in an Academy Development role, mentoring Academy Directors.

She was the inaugural W-League Coach at Melbourne Victory, making the finals in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012; and she assisted Alen Stajcic with the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015.

Vicki is open and honest, discussing the importance of resilience and mentoring for coaches as well as the high value of creating safe environments for players, particularly young players, such as those in her Canberra United squad this past season.

In this chat with Gary Cole, Vicki frankly shares her coaching journey and experiences.

Please enjoy this journey into Vicki Linton’s Football Coaching Life.


John Kosmina, ‘Kossie’ as he is affectionately known by Australian Football Fans, was a wonderful Socceroo striker with great skill and he was also extremely tough and no nonsense.

John played 100 games for the Socceroos over a 12-year period, scoring 42 goals. He played 287 NSL games for West Adelaide, Adelaide City, Sydney City, Sydney Olympic and Apia where he scored 133 goals. He also spent a year with Arsenal in London.

Kossie coached in the National Soccer League with Newcastle Breakers, Brisbane City and Adelaide United. He continued with Adelaide into the Hyundai A-League where he also spent time coaching at Sydney FC. He won a Hyundai A-League Premiership in 2005-2006 and was a runner-up to Melbourne Victory in 2006-2007.

John is a member of the Football Australia Hall of Fame, he worked with Graham Arnold as his assistant coach in the 2007 Asian Cup and is well known for his work as a Fox sports commentator.

John now works as the Brisbane Strikers Senior Academy Head Coach, with a strong focus on development.

In this episode John frankly shares his coaching journey and experiences and as always, he is ruthlessly honest.

Enjoy this journey into John Kosmina’s Football Coaching Life.

Joe Montemurro is currently the manager of Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League, but will step down from that role at the end of the season to have a well-deserved break, recharge, refresh and review.

Joe has transformed Arsenal since his arrival in 2017 and has won the Championship, the League Cup, been runners up in the FA Cup and the League Cup and made the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

This conversation reveals Joe’s very humble personality and looks at his journey from coaching juniors at his beloved Brunswick Juventus in the Victorian Premier League, through to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City in the W League before taking up the incredible challenge with Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League.

He discusses coach education in both Australia and Italy and his experiences in the differences from ‘how to coach’ to ‘what to coach’. He also discusses how his coaching has changed and matured over the journey and the importance of resilience when being under the spotlight for coaches.

In this conversation with Gary Cole, we meet a humble, open and honest Joe Montemurro, who speaks about his desire to build a legacy by leaving each club and team he has worked at in a better place than when he arrived.

Don't miss this deep dive into Joe Montemurro’s Football Coaching Life.

Tanya Oxtoby’s amazing football journey began in Wickham, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, approximately 1500km north of Perth.

She is currently the Manager of Bristol City Women’s Football Club in the FA Women’s Super League, and Assistant Manager with the England U19s, albeit on maternity leave after giving birth to a new son, Albie Kempski Oxtoby.

Tanya captained Perth Glory for 40 games across four seasons after playing in the WNSL alongside Tal Karp, Lisa De Vanna and Nicola Williams. Her playing journey took her to the UK to play in the FA Women’s National League with Doncaster Rovers Belles.

Her coaching journey began in Western Australia at the Football West Training Centre as well as her establishing her own Football Academy. A UEFA A Licence and a Masters in Sports Psychology provides her a strong foundation to help grow and develop players and teams. Tanya worked at Notts County and Birmingham City before taking on the Head Coaching role at Bristol City in 2018 where she works with one of the smallest budgets in the competition.

Tanya was open, honest and willing to share in our discussion around coaching and developing players, the resilience needed to coach as well as coaching at the highest level while suffering from Covid and being pregnant!

Please join me in sharing Tanya Oxtoby’s Football Coaching Life.

Ernie Merrick is well known in Australian football circles. His most recent coaching role was Head Coach of A-League side the Newcastle Jets, and he has also coached the Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory in the A-League, where he had great on-field success in terms of both results and developing players.

Ernie also had a short stint as the Coach of the Hong Kong National Team.

Prior to his A League experiences Ernie played at Frankston City, coached and played at Doveton, and was assistant coach at Frankston Pines in the Victorian State Premier League. 

He moved on from the Victorian competitions to the National Soccer League and coached at Preston Lions and Sunshine George Cross.

He was then appointed as the inaugural Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) Head Coach, where he helped to develop players for the Australian Junior National teams, including Josh Kennedy, Scott McDonald, Matthew Spiranovic, Eugene Galekovic, Paul Giannou, Con Blatsis, Danny Allsopp, Leigh Broxham, Adrian Leijer, Roddy & Andy Vargas, Jimmy Jeggo, Simon Colosimo and Vince Grella – to name a few!

Perhaps most well remembered as the hugely successful inaugural Coach at Melbourne Victory, where he helped build one of the A-League's benchmark clubs from the ground up. During his time at Melbourne Victory from 2005 to 2011, he won the Championship in 2006-2007 and 2008-2009, the Premiership in 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 and the Pre-Season Cup in 2008-2009 completing the treble.

Ernie’s teams have always had a focus on attacking and scoring goals and indeed his record shows this.

Enjoy this journey into Ernie Merrick’s Football Coaching Life.

Graham Arnold more often referred to as ‘Arnie’ in Australian Football circles is our national Coach of both the Socceroos and the Olyroos.

The Socceroos are getting ready to complete their FIFA World Cup group qualifying phase in a centralised venue in Kuwait City and the Olyroos are waiting patiently to see if the Olympics are going ahead.

Graham is one a generation of players that passed through Sydney United 58 and went on to have successful playing and coaching careers. He had a distinguished playing career that started and finished here in Australia and took him to the Netherlands, Belgium and Japan and included 56 games for the Socceroos

He didn’t get to play in the World Cup but has now been to two World Cups as Assistant to Gus Hiddink and Pim Verbeek, coached at two Asian Cups and Tokyo will be his second Olympics as Head Coach.

Arnie has had wonderful success in the A-League, winning Premierships and Championships with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC, as well as the FFA Cup with Sydney FC.

Listen to this open and honest conversation between Graham and former Socceroo Gary Cole, in which the Socceroos coach talks about his coaching and leadership styles, how they have changed over the course of his journey, and the importance of mentors and developing resilience along the way.

He also discusses how the year of COVID-19 has enabled the development of more Olyroos. 

Sit back, relax and enjoy these insights into Graham Arnold’s Football Coaching Life.

Heather Garriock is perhaps best known for the 130 caps she won representing the Matildas and her expert commentary on Optus Sport.

Her international career spread over 13 years and included 3 FIFA Women’s World Cups; 2 Olympic Games and 3 Asian Cups culminating in a win in 2010 in China.

Heather was a tenacious footballer which continued into her coaching career and now into her role as CEO of Taekwondo Australia.

In this frank and fearless conversation with former Socceroo Gary Cole, she explains how coaching and leadership has given her a different perspective on success.


Dr. Ron Smith (Smudger to his friends) is well known in Australian Football circles. Often referred to as a ‘Coaching Guru’ and developer of many of Australia’s ‘Golden Generation’.

Prior to coming to Australia, Ron played at junior level at his beloved North London Tottenham Hotspurs before ‘dickie knees’ impacted his professional ambitions.

He has coached in Iceland and Malaysia as well as in Australia’s A-League with Perth Glory. Ron has assisted many of our National Team coaches as an analyst, attending both World and Asian Cups as well as part of Football Australia’s Technical Department on a couple of occasions.

Perhaps most well remembered as the hugely successful Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, where many wonderful players like Viduka, Aloisi, Bresciano, Moore, Neil, Skoko, Grella, Simunic and Zelic, to name a few, came through.

Smudger has been arguably our greatest student of the game, analysing thousands of EPL and International Men’s and Women’s World Cup games and sharing his knowledge and wisdom about the behaviours of the Worlds best. Perhaps his favourite topic is ‘How goals are scored’.

Ron received his PhD on ‘Goal scoring patterns in professional football' from the University of Canberra in 2016

Join Gary Cole as he explores the Football Coaching Life of Dr Ron Smith.

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