Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip will step down at the end of the season to return home to Europe, the A-League club announced on Wednesday.
The Dutchman advised the Heart's board and management of his decision on Tuesday, despite the fifth-placed Heart turning in an encouraging performance this season. The club said it would immediately begin searching for a new coach for the 2012/13 campaign.
Heart chairman Peter Sidwell thanked van 't Schip for his contributions as the club's foundation coach.
"John arrived in Melbourne with a clear vision for the establishment of this club, as a proponent of the fundamental belief in challenging the status quo by demonstrating the importance of developing youth and instilling an ethos underlined by playing attractive, attacking football," Sidwell said in a statement.
"Drawing on the methods of former mentors Johan Cruyff and Louis van Gaal, John duly delivered on his promise, offering unparalleled opportunity for development and growth to some of our most exciting young talents, in addition to uncovering a number of diamonds in the rough."
Van 't Schip was capped 41 times as a player for the Netherlands before stepping into management, becoming an assistant coach at Ajax and the Dutch national team.