Who Is Walter Pless?


A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Michael Roach has been re-appointed for two years as coach of Division One side Nelson Eastern Suburbs.

His assistant will be Dean Melville, who will be in charge of the reserves, while Richard Flood will coach the under-19s.

Roach holds an FFA ‘C’ coaching licence and he will mentor and provide resources for all the club’s coaches, particularly the youth coaches.

“While the club is a grassroots club, we want to provide the best possible model for our all players at the club,” said Roach.

“This starts with ensuring the best possible opportunities for our youth players who play with the club at under-13 level to get into the elite pathway via Southern teams.

“In general terms, the club is continuing to grow and that represents a lot of hard work from our committee and coaching staff over a lot of years.

“As for Division 1 next season, we are expecting to be very competitive.”

Bill Hanley, Nelson’s president, said: “Nelson Eastern Suburbs FC is an exciting club to be involved with.

“The club has experienced rapid development over the last few seasons, both at youth and senior level, and that is a testament to the work that the committee, coaches and players put in.

“We still have many challenges, but the buzz about the club is infectious and I know that everyone will be working even harder this coming season to ensure a successful year.”

Pre-season training for senior men and under-19s has already commenced with numbers in the high twenties.

* * *

Andrew Herring has been appointed coach of Metro’s reserves, while Neil Biggar and Simon Land will be in charge of the club’s under-19s.

Adrian Pickin is Metro’s new women’s team coach.

Several clubs have started their pre-season training before the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

New Town Eagles had about two dozen at training last night, including goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury.

Michael Soszynski, who took over when Pitchford’s replacement, Andrew Savage, tore an Achilles tendon, was also at training.

Soszynski will be the goalkeeping coach at Eagles next season.

Glenorchy Knights had 16 players at training this evening, including Janko Begovic, who may come out of retirement.

Jacob Huigsloot was also training with the Knights, so a move from Clarence United for him could be on the cards.

James Sherman, from Melbourne Knights, accompanied Glenorchy Knights to the Australian-Croatian carnival in Adelaide in October and he has been training with Glenorchy Knights.

His future is unclear as Melbourne Knights rate him very highly.

Daniel White was also training with Knights this evening after returning from Melbourne, where he was playing with Whittlesea Zebras.

Coach Eamonn Kelly was absent and the session was conducted by assistant coach Nick Harrison.

This year’s Vic Tuting Silver Medal winner, Josh Fielding, who features in this month’s edition of the magazine “Soccer International”, was also training tonight and it appears he will not retire just yet.

Hobart United appear a long way from folding judging from the attendance at training last night.

Coach Mark Broadbent had a couple of dozen eager players training and Ateef Abdaltam was assisting Broadbent.

DOSA Northern Suburbs have appointed Pedro Ramirez as their senior coach for the coming season.

They had re-appointed Joe O'Hea, but he resigned recently due to family commitments.

* * * *

Dean May, head coach of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport, recently had national goalkeeper coach Tony Franken back in Tasmania to work with TIS keepers Tristan Prendergast, Jemma Plummer and Olivia Edwards.

And, some interesting coaching clinics are in store for Tasmanian youngsters in the coming months.

Four Dynamo Zagreb youth coaches will be in Hobart from 1-5 February 2010 to conduct coaching clinics for players ranging in age from 8 to 18 years.

They are scouting for talent and a European career could be in the offing for anyone who impresses them during the selection trial.

Three of the Dynamo coaches visited Hobart earlier this year but the weekend’s matches were all called off because of the weather and the condition of the grounds.

They had hoped to watch Glenorchy Knights play South Hobart.

Football Coaching International, who are affiliated with Chelsea FC, will be conducting coaching seminars and youth clinics in Tasmania in January 2010.

The coaching seminars for all interested coaches in Tasmania will be held in Hobart on 26 January 2010 from 6.30-8pm, and in Launceston on 28 January 2010 from 6.30-8pm.

The football camps for youngsters will be in Hobart from 25-26 January, the 9am to noon session being for 6-11 year-olds, and the 1-4pm sessions for 12-16-year-olds.

A similar camp will be held in Launceston on 28-29 January, with the same schedule.

Australia’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup may have hit a real stumbling block.

The bigotry and hatred towards the world game amongst some Australians became evident today with various pronouncements by AFL identities, including Andrew Demetriou (the AFL chief executive), Eddie McGuire, Ron Barassi and Kevin Sheedy.

Mike Sheahan, the chief football (AFL, that is) writer of Melbourne’s “Herald Sun”, also joined in the attack and devoted a column (“Hands off our game”) to the unacceptable disruption a World Cup would cause to the AFL competition.

All the old prejudices surfaced when the “Herald Sun” threw the subject open for comment from readers.

Soccer was called a sook’s game and un-Australian by some readers who commented.

It reminded me of the late Johnny Warren’s book, “Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters”, in which he outlined the hatred shown towards the game in the 1960s and 1970s.

It seems not much has changed when it comes to the crunch and AFL turf is supposedly threatened.

Let’s see how long it takes for the rugby community in the northern States to attack.

Demetriou claimed that the AFL may have to abandon not one season, but possibly two, if the MCG was co-opted and reconfigured for the World Cup for several months.

A colour picture of Barassi, squashing a soccer ball with his fingers, adorned the front page of the “Herald Sun”.

Provocative stuff, indeed, especially when the text accompanying the photo stated that Barassi “...put the fear of God into soccer officials, who backed down over plans to kick the AFL off the MCG for an entire season to stage the round-ball World Cup”.

To be fair, the “Herald Sun” tried to balance the story by also running a piece by Ian Royall, a senior journalist with the “Herald Sun” and ‘a dedicated fan of both codes’, according to the paper.

Royall’s article was headlined “Footy fanatics have no real grounds for complaint” and he argued that AFL had nothing to fear and that Australia was in danger of being seen as parochial if the codes did not reach a compromise.

FFA have been quick to try and hose down the brouhaha because they know that if FIFA get wind of the mounting opposition from other codes, Australia’s bid will end up in the rubbish bin at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

FFA’s Ben Buckley, ironically, a former senior AFL executive, tried to hose down the controversy by stating that he was ‘already working with FIFA to allow the AFL season to continue’.

Part of the problem is FIFA’s insistence that the host nation must run the Confederations Cup the year before a World Cup, and that World Cup venues must be ‘quarantined’ a month before the tournament and that ‘major rival sporting events’ must be halted during the month-long World Cup tournament.

That is easy in countries where football is king, but more difficult in countries such as Australia and the United States of America.

The problems were overcome in 1994 in the USA, but the USA has a far greater population than Australia and has far greater resources and a greater range of facilities.

It will be interesting to see what happens next, after this war of words, but it does not augur well for our chances as FIFA will not be impressed by what happened today.

One can understand the fears of AFL and rugby as the demands will be an impost on those codes.

But, for the sake of Australia's sporting image around the world, let's hope that compromises can be reached sooner rather than later.

The draw for the 2010 AFC Champions League was held this afternoon in Kuala Lumpur.

There are 32 teams divided into eight groups of four and split into western and eastern Asia zones.

Adelaide United, the 2008 runners-up but currently bottom of the A-League, have been drawn in Group H, together with the current champions Pohang Steelers of South Korea, China’s Shandong Luneng and the winners of the Japanese Emperor’s Cup, which won’t be played until 1 January.

Melbourne Victory are in Group E, together with Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale, who have been runners-up in the J-League for three of the past four seasons, Chinese champions Beijing Guoan, and the Korean K-League runners-up Seongnam Ilhwa.

All the groups are listed below:

AFC Champions League 2010 – Group Stage


Group A – Al Ahli (KSA), Al Gharafa (QAT), Al Jazira (UAE), Esteghlal (IRN)

Group B – Zob Ahan (IRN), Al Ittihad (KSA), Bunyodkor (UZB), Playoff winners

Group C – Al Ain (UAE), Sepahan (IRN), Al Shabab (KSA), Pakhtakor (UZB)

Group D – Al Sadd (QAT), Al Ahli (UAE), Mes Kerman (IRN), Al Hilal (KSA)


Group E – Seongnam Ilhwa (KOR), Melbourne Victory (AUS), Beijing Guoan (CHN), Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)

Group F – Kashima Antlers (JPN), Jeonbuk Motors (KOR), Persipura Jayapura (IDN), Changchun Yatai (CHN)

Group G – Henan Jianye (CHN), Gamba Osaka (JPN), Suwon Bluewings (KOR), Playoff winners

Group H – Adelaide United (AUS), Shandong Luneng (CHN), Cup winners (JPN), Pohang Steelers (KOR)