Same culture but Corica to run own FC race

Emma Kemp
Steve Corica has been appointed the new coach of Sydney FC in place of Graham Arnold

They had a choice between continuity and change, and in a way Sydney FC ensured they got both with Steve Corica.

The former Socceroos midfielder is the essence of the Sky Blues, a foundation player then captain who served a seven-year apprenticeship as assistant coach before being promoted for his first top gig as Graham Arnold's successor.

His self-described objectives of "entertaining and winning" run parallel with the club's record-breaking success of the past two A-League seasons.

And the 45-year-old's own contributions to that very culture made him stand out among 150 formal applications and a further 100 expressions of interest.

As chairman Scott Barlow put it, he offered "a level of continuity and consistency of approach".

But when Corica spoke for the first time after signing a two-year deal on Wednesday, it was equally clear this was a man eager to add his own imprint to a squad well cultivated by Arnold and driven to take back the title the runaway premiers lost this last campaign.

"Things will change, of course, because I'm in charge now," Corica said.

"But we don't want to change too much - we've had great success these last two years.

"I want to keep the foundation with the players much the same. There'll be new faces coming in without a doubt, which will help the group as well because we want to win trophies.

"They'll be hearing my voice now instead of Arnie's louder voice but we'll do a few things my way now.

"So we'll keep things going in the same direction but under my charge."

Before Arnold, Corica served under Vitezslav Lavicka, Ian Crook and Frank Farina.

His development accelerated under the next Socceroos coach, who taught him invaluable lessons about tactics and man management.

But it was also his own technical expertise that came to the fore during the interview process, when he and four other shortlisted candidates - all European - underwent two interviews.

One centred around the strategic character fit with the club; the other on technical capability and football philosophy.

"Given the magnitude of this role in the club it was important that emotion didn't drive the outcome," chief executive Danny Townsend said.

"What became unanimous to all of us was that Steve was a standout candidate."

As a matter of urgency, Corica's first task is to address the futures of a number of players, most notably off-contract marquees Milos Ninkovic and Bobo.

The futures of skipper Alex Brosque, David Carney, Fabio Ferreira and Anthony Kalik also remain up in the air, and Corica signalled more new signings will join Trent Buhagiar, but with a focus on ensuring new personalities fit the club's culture.

Then there'll be the matter of potentially recruiting a new assistant coach and possibly further backroom staff if some follow Arnold to the Socceroos.