Central Coast Mariners are pleased to welcome former New Zealand international player and youth coach Stuart Jacobs to the Club in the newly created position of Head of Youth Football.
Jacobs, who led the New Zealand U23 National Team to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the Junior All Whites to the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup in Canada, arrives at the Mariners having last mentored Young Heart Manawatu in New Zealand-s ASB Youth League.
After a thorough recruitment process the Club has charged Jacobs – who as a player represented the All Whites an impressive 31 times and also turned out for Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League – with revitalising its youth program.
Indeed, Jacobs – who has also served as a Hyundai A-League assistant coach (Wellington Phoenix – 2007/08) – will not only be responsible for the coaching and development of the Mariners- Foxtel National Youth League team, but oversee the Club-s youth scouting network and ensure that the yellow and navy-s football philosophy, methods and culture are properly passed down through the Central Coast Mariners Academy.
The appointment of a Head of Youth Football is significant for Central Coast Mariners as it ensures one key individual within the football department will oversee all facets of the Club-s youth development approach.
Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Phil Moss, described Jacobs- appointment as pivotal to the Club-s overall youth development plan and vision.
“We are going through an overhaul of our youth structure at the moment and I was looking for someone not with just experience in developing national youth league players, but with experience in developing international youth players,” Moss said.
“Stu-s record in New Zealand as the Head Coach of the Olympic team and the Head Coach of the Under 20s at the World Cup, plus his work with his Kaizen Academy, shows that he has worked at all levels of the game at the elite development level.”
“He ticked all the boxes – he-s a really honest guy, he-s a very hard worker, he-s an exceptional coach with a fantastic CV both as a player and as a coach, and he-s absolutely dedicated to youth development,” he said.
Moss said that the decision to create a more strategic, holistic youth position is part of the Club-s plans to refresh its youth system. And, he added that Jacobs- professionalism and know-how will be crucial to continually attracting the best young footballers to the Mariners.
“I think we-re all comfortable with the fact that this is a Club that develops elite youngsters and gives them their opportunity in the Hyundai A-League, and also doesn-t stand in their way of furthering their careers overseas,” Moss said. “So, if we-re serious about that we need to make sure that the youth structure is in great working order.”
“I went looking for someone who was different to what I had worked with in the past in Australia, and with Stu there is no history. He brings in a real fresh approach, fresh ideas, and his enthusiasm is second to none.”
“We are a Club that must think outside the square and be innovative in all that we do, and Stu was an obvious fit in this category.”
“Stu will also be close to the first team to ensure that whatever happens with the Hyundai A-League squad is filtered down to the other end of the pathway,” he said.
After arriving in Australia last Thursday, Jacobs hit the ground running at the weekend, attending a number of fixtures as he started to get a sense of the youth football landscape in and around the Central Coast.
Following first team training on Monday, Jacobs said that he is delighted to have joined a Club with bold plans for the future.
“The Mariners have a reputation of being one of the top Hyundai A-League clubs in the country, so from that point of view it-s a tremendous honour to be brought into the program,” the former New Zealand Coach of the Year said. “And obviously with the role that I-ve got – overseeing the youth Academy to the youth team – they-re the kids that I like to work with.”
“Talking to Phil [Moss] and ‘Sully- [Wayne O-Sullivan], Bruce [Stalder] and the owner Mike Charlesworth, they want to produce from within, and they want to give kids the opportunity to make a living from the game overseas if they-re good enough. Their vision is in line with how I see young players, so it all fit in really well.”
Jacobs added that he-s hoping to add to the Mariners- highly regarded Club culture and unity.
“When I applied for the position the common theme that came through was that Mariners people are great people,” he said. “So that was a real positive for me – I want to be involved with positive people every day, and I hope I can add to that.”