New Glory A-League coach Edwards aims high

March 21, 2013
By Justin Chadwick

New Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards will attempt to lure some of Western Australia's finest soccer talents back home in a bid to transform the club into an A-League powerhouse.

Edwards beat out applicants from England, Scotland, Holland, Italy, Germany and Ukraine to win the full-time Glory job on a three-year term.

The former Socceroos striker is the first ex-Glory player to coach the club, and said his main priority was to provide a pathway for the state's best talent to play for Perth.

Glory were the benchmark team in the now-defunct NSL, but have struggled both on and off the field since the inception of the A-League in 2005.

Edwards, who played 93 games for the Glory at the tail-end of his career, will launch a dedicated recruitment drive targeting WA's best soccer talents.

The 44-year-old didn't want to name names, but the likes of Scott Neville (Jets), Adam Taggart (Jets), Jesse Makarounas (Victory), Mark Birighitti (Jets), Trent Sainsbury (Mariners), Mitchell Oxborrow (Jets), Eli Babalj (Heart), Scott Galloway (Victory) and his son Cameron Edwards (Heart) are just some of the emerging WA stars who are plying their trade elsewhere in Australia.

His other son, promising attacking midfielder Ryan Edwards, is unlikely to be in the frame given he's still under contract with English side Reading.

Edwards said he would also get in contact with European-based players from WA to see if they were keen to return home.

Edwards, who relinquished his post as Australia's under-17s coach to link with Perth, is renowned for his ability to develop youth, and has already signed local teenagers Danny De Silva, Riley Woodcock and Matthew Davies to two-year deals since his arrival.

De Silva was just 15 years old when he made his A-League debut off the bench three weeks ago.

Edwards wants Glory to reconnect with its roots, and will seek the help of past players to develop the best ways of taking the club forward.

"I had to leave the state as a 17-year-old and I didn't come back until I was 29, because there was no opportunity to play at the highest level in this state," Edwards said.

"There's probably been far too many players that have left the state in the last three to five years, and we should investigate why and whether there's an opportunity to bring those players back.

"That's one of the priorities.

"Are we going to be able to move quickly to where we want to be? No, because we've got a lot of players already on contract.

"And there's a number of players from WA who are playing in Europe or in the eastern states that are still under contract.

"The true fruits of what we're doing will be in the third year. That's the whole thing about having a long-term vision."

Edwards has guided Perth to three wins from five games since Ian Ferguson's sacking last month, but will likely need wins against Melbourne Victory and Adelaide Heart to reach the finals.