It’ll be a new-look Sunbury United next year as the club puts a tough couple of years behind it.
There’s a new senior coach, a new board and, more importantly, the senior and junior soccer clubs have amalgamated to become one.
United president Charlie Pongrac said the board hopes having just one club will show there’s a unified approach focused on development and young talent.
Other new board members include former senior coach Greg Czapnik as director of senior football operations, and Paul DiBlasi, who previously oversaw the juniors as vice-president.
“Over the next three years, we want to nurture and promote a community culture for all our members and supporters,” Pongrac said.
“The aim is to provide a clear player development pathway, from grassroots to senior football, and ultimately, to have success on the park.”
“We’re looking to establish a sub-committee to support our growing junior base. I’m sure we’ll face some challenges, so we’ll need all the help we can get to achieve our ambitions.
“We have some fantastic people involved at the club already, they’re people who can see the potential here and want to help make a positive difference.”
On field, United will be led by Lino Grech, who has coached juniors at Keilor Park and under-18s and under-20s at Pascoe Vale. He returns after playing with Sunbury in the 1990s.
It’ll be no easy task for Grech, with United being relegated in FFV state league for a second straight season.
Next year they’ll play in state league 3 north-west, but Grech says, despite a tough couple of years, he can see a bright future.
“I had many great memories as a player … and now I’m really looking forward to creating more great memories as a coach,” Grech said.
“The facilities are here, there are good people at the club who want to see us succeed and, with the injection of young, local talent and a big push from everyone in the same direction, we have the potential to achieve so much.
“My ultimate aim as a coach is to develop players into hard-working, senior footballers, who are also technically very good. United’s senior and junior clubs have joined together … focusing on youth and development.”
Ian Burke has been reappointed as reserves coach for a third year.
The club will also have new dressing rooms next season, which fits in with its focus on a new start. The club hopes the rooms will be ready in time for the start of the season.