Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th 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.

Who's Online

We have 155 guests and no members online



Photos (Top to Bottom): Romeo Frediani is again at the helm of Tilford Zebras; Hanna Manuela (right) took out two awards at Taroona [PlessPix]

Tilford Zebras have reappointed Romeo Frediani as their senior Premier League coach for the 2011 season.

Frediani coached the Zebras’ senior side to second place in 2010 in his first season at the helm.

Sandra Chisholm will remain as the senior side’s physio.

*******

There has been a three-way tie in the Taroona Premier League women’s side’s best-and-fairest count.

The award went jointly to Hanna Manuela, Ash Tolman and Laura Prescott.

The players’ player-of-the-year award was won by Hanna Manuela.

The coach’s award went to Sarah Cretu and the leadership award to Holly Ayton.

In the Premier Women’s Reserves, the best-and-fairest honour was shared by Hannah Vasicek and Alice Kennedy.

Kennedy was also the players’ player of the year, while the coach’s award went to Laura Wilsdon.

A special presentation was made to Lauren Gadd as the Number One Fan.

*******

Marty Nidorfer and Michael Murray have been appointed as joint reserve coaches at New Town Eagles.



Photos (Top to Bottom): Patrick Galloway (second from left) prior to him refereeing the North versus South game this year at Aurora Stadium in Launceston; Patrick Galloway (second from left) as the fourth official at a women's final in Hobart [PlessPix]

Tasmania’s Patrick Galloway won Football Federation Australia’s Referee-of-the-Year Award at an FFA awards night in Sydney last Thursday.

Below is the interview I conducted with Patrick upon his return to Hobart.

Walter Pless: How old are you, Patrick?

Patrick Galloway: Nineteen years old. I’ll be twenty in April next year.

WP: How long have you been a referee?

PG: I’ve been a referee since 2005 – so 6 years now. It’s been great fun.

WP: What made you become a referee?

PG: Originally, I became a referee to earn some money, and so that I had something to do on weekends apart from playing football!

I originally started refereeing my brother’s small-sided games a few years before I started and I enjoyed it, so I thought, ‘why not give it a go?’ Dad did the course with me and he’s supported me the whole way through. He and mum have been great.

WP: Have you played the game?

PG: I have. I played from under-6s with Howrah until under-16s with Clarence – so, 11 years of playing. I was never much of a player. I kept for a while, and that was fun at times, but I enjoyed playing on the field more, by far.

WP: What is your aim in refereeing?

PG: My aim in refereeing is to go as far as possible – as general as that sounds! I’d love to do a National Youth League game one day soon, especially if they come back down here again. It was fantastic being involved in the 2008 games down here [as a fourth official and an assistant referee].

I guess I’d love to referee in the A-League one day – but that’s a long way off, and at the moment is impossible to achieve without going to the mainland, which won’t happen for at least another 4 or 5 years while I finish my medical degree.

I’d love to see a pathway for the younger referees to move on up to higher levels, too. The referees between 17 and 23 or so are the future for us here, so they need to be promoted and nurtured, as well as exposed to the senior levels of the game down here. An NYL team, with a view to an A-League team one day in Tasmania, would be an amazing start.

WP: Which is the most important game you've refereed?

PG: I guess there’s a couple. The Summer Cup game between Clarence United and Knights this year was a big one and good fun. It decided which team made the final. I really enjoyed refereeing at Aurora this year in the U-20 statewide game and working with some boys from the north as my assistants.

Bringing it back a while, my first ever senior game [between South and Kingborough in 2008] as a just-turned-seventeen-year-old was important to me. I reckon I must have been close to the youngest senior referee. I proved to myself I could referee the big boys.

WP: How do you feel about winning this FFA referee-of-the-year award? What will it lead to?

PG: It was incredibly flattering. To even be nominated as a contestant for the national award was a massive shock, considering that there are referees who are definitely more worthy of a nomination in Tasmania. As you know, Kim went last year, and he’s the benchmark for referees in Tasmania. He’s been the best for a long time, and he deserves to be recognised as such. But, aside from him, we have younger referees like Ivan, who’s well entrenched at Premier level, and then Brenton, who’s got a couple of years of experience on me, so it was a shock and extremely flattering to get nominated in front of these guys who deserved it just as much, if not more.

There are also a lot of people who make big contributions to the game by their refereeing each week. One person that stands out for me is Sean Collins. Sean has copped so much crap this year, and yet he still goes out and referees each week! I don’t think many people realise that people like Sean really only have the best interests of our game at heart. So, I was very flattered to receive the Tasmanian award in front of people like these.

Anyway, I digress. To win the award nationally was amazing and an even bigger surprise. It was a great feeling to be presented with this award in front of a room full of footballers, volunteers, coaches, you name it – the ‘football family’, as it was called. There was a great sense of camaraderie on Thursday night.

The award itself was more of a motivational award to say: ‘We acknowledge that you’ve been working hard as a referee. Keep it up!’ By no means was it about me being the best referee in Australia. I’m a very long way off. It considered all-around factors such as participation in refereeing outside of game day, working with younger referees, and things like that. It was very flattering as there are a great number of more deserving winners around the country.

The award was also very positive for me, too. It was great to have people recognise me as making a contribution, and it makes me feel that what I do as a referee is worth it. It’ll make the rubbish that referees cop just that much sweeter!

But, it was just very pleasing to be recognised for the work I do, I suppose. The award will be a great motivation for me to work hard at my refereeing and fitness for next year and beyond, hopefully moving on to a higher level.

WP: What are the downsides to refereeing?

PG: The coaches. The players are mostly great to referee. As I get older, I find it a lot easier to communicate with the guys out there. There are some genuinely nice people on the football field who I enjoy refereeing, and there is nothing better than walking off at the end of the game knowing that you’ve had a good game and the players feel you haven’t had a negative impact on the game – ‘seen and not heard’, as the saying goes.

I guess what I’d say is that coaches need to consider the human element – referees are only human. I can confidently say that there is not a referee in Tasmania that I’ve worked with that would be anything other than fair, and no matter what has gone on in the past, every referee is fair, every week. No referees go out there to ‘gain revenge’ or ‘win’.

So to cop abuse from these coaches, blaming you for their failures, is always really disappointing, especially when they don’t consider what we as referees are trying to do, be fair and objective. I know these guys are mostly volunteers, and I have a lot of respect for that.

But, it’s the younger referees, younger than me, that have potential to go on and achieve in their refereeing career, who are most at risk here – and a lot of coaches [parents too] don’t understand the damage they can do to a referee’s confidence by having a go at them.

That said, I have had the pleasure of dealing with some lovely coaches. Some of them might not agree with every decision I make, but the coaches that have the guts to say ‘thanks, ref’, shake your hand, and appreciate what you’re doing at the end of a game make the job worth doing – coaches like Jed and Ken at South, Browny at Clarence, George at Eagles, the Taroona guys. They are all great to deal with. There are also a lot of junior level coaches out there who are a pleasure to deal with.

WP: What are the best points about refereeing?

PG: The best parts, without a doubt, are my fellow referees. I enjoy working with every one of them. Blokes like Alastair Cooke, Ivan, Brenton, Adrian Lockley, Craig Phillips, Jason Priest, Kim and everyone else who I haven’t mentioned, they all make the job fun. It’s great having people you can chat to and enjoy your time refereeing with.

The way that people look out for you in refereeing has improved out of sight, too, over my time as a referee. There have been times when I just needed to chat and talk about a game, and I can think of plenty of times where people like Rick McAllister were there to offer some friendly advice when it was needed. I really appreciated Rick’s kind words, and all of the people who have assisted me.

Having Robert Freke at FFT is also fantastic. Robert is a true gentleman and works so hard for the referees in Tasmania. He’s got an 8-day-a-week job in winter. He’s always there to lend an ear for a chat, as well as to provide advice and further our development as referees. Having him as our Referee Development Officer has been a huge step for refereeing in the state. It means FFT is taking steps to ensure referees are protected.

Receiving recognition and encouragement from players, coaches and peers is another bonus. It’s a great boost to your confidence when a senior coach or player tells a referee that he’s improving and had a good game today.

But, back when I started, too, the smallest praise made the biggest difference. I once received a trophy from the Div 2 Clarence Spirit team, in my first year of refereeing. As a low-on-confidence, fourteen-year-old boy, refereeing men in Division 2, this was a great encouragement and it was an extremely nice gesture from a great bunch of people. I really appreciated their thoughts.

WP: Do you have any advice to players?

PG: Get involved! Go and do a course – believe me, even if you don’t go on to referee you gain a lot of knowledge on the game that helps your playing brain.

Players and coaches that stand there and criticise you often have no idea what it’s like making split-second decisions for 90 minutes – so do give it a go. It’d be great to see some more players taking it up. The playing experience is a great help when you’re learning to be a referee.


Photo: Michelle Castle with her niece, Chloe King, who is a goalkeeper with Springfield Gardens Primary School and an NSJSA Under-12 representative player [Photo courtesy of Michelle Castle]

Tasmania’s Michelle Castle won the Women’s Coach-of-the-Year Award at the Football Federation Australia awards ceremony last Thursday. This is a momentous achievement for Tasmanian football, and a first for the State.

I interviewed Michelle on her return to Hobart.

Walter Pless: Michelle, please tell readers about your playing career.

Michelle Castle: I came to the World Game relatively late and didn’t start playing competitive football until my late 20s. I have just finished my 11th season. I have always played with Nelson Eastern Suburbs FC as goalkeeper and am looking forward to the club’s return to Premier League in 2011. I started playing futsal last year and am developing a keen enthusiasm for the indoor version of the game.

WP: What coaching qualifications and experience do you have?

MC: I have been involved in coaching youth sport since I was in my teens. I have coached softball, volleyball and underwater hockey, but only started coaching football in 2006.

I first coached football in 2006, coaching a MacKillop U13 boys’ team. Since then, I have mostly coached Eastern Region under 12 girls’ teams and girls’ teams at Nelson, though last season I also coached the girls’ U13 Southern team. I currently run weekly training for Nelson goalkeepers, which is a lot of fun.

This year, I was also involved with The Big Issues Community Street Soccer Program, which was fantastic. I had the opportunity to work with the disadvantaged in our community, to use football to affect lives. One of the girls I worked with this year was named female player of the tournament at the National Street Soccer Championships, which was a great thrill. I also ran training sessions for some fellas in the Risdon Prison, which was a lot of fun.

I currently hold a youth licence and senior goalkeeping licence. I hope that FFT will be able to hold a C licence course in Tasmania next year so I can attend that course.

WP: What does this FFA award mean to you?

MC: I am excited and a little embarrassed about receiving the award. I think of the award as recognition of my commitment to becoming a better coach rather than being the best non-professional female coach in Australia. There is so much to learn about football. Over the past12 months I have travelled to Queensland to gain my Senior Goalkeeping Licence, attended an Instruction and Assessment course and attended the FFA Coaches’ conference in Brisbane. I was also lucky enough to be able see Australia play Holland, Indonesia and Paraguay. I love discussing football with all and sundry and attending the Australian Football Awards was a great opportunity to talk to other nominees about football in their home towns.

WP: What is your philosophy of coaching?

MC: I have a development approach to coaching. Creating a positive learning environment and providing a wide variety of experiences to young players is central to my coaching. Sometimes, winning is an important part of development, but it is secondary, really. Coaches often have the opportunity to affect a young player’s life by building self-esteem and teaching life lessons and being a part of this is what I find most rewarding about coaching.

WP: What ambitions do you have in coaching?

MC: I would love to earn a living from coaching, but think that this would be difficult in Tasmania. In 2011, I will continue to be the head coach of the girls’ program at Nelson Eastern Suburbs FC.

WP: Where is women’s football at in Tasmania?

MC: The women’s game in southern Tasmania is almost unrecognisable from the game that I first started playing in 2000. The standard is significantly higher and there are now 4 leagues in the south rather than just the two that existed when I first started playing. Over the last couple of years, FFT have also elevated the women’s competition to a status similar to the men’s game and included State-wide competitions in the playing calendar, which has been great.

WP: What other improvements are needed?

MC: Youth development is always where we need to build. I coached the Southern U13 girls’ team this year. This team was chock full of talented players, but I would have liked to see more girls at the selection trials. I think that there is also a lack of good quality female goalkeepers. It is a problem that girls in junior mixed teams are rarely asked to have a go at playing in goals. A Tasmanian W-League team would be great for the game in this state.

WP: Will you stay with Nelson?

MC: I love being at Nelson. We have a very young women’s team that is full of potential and it has been great to see the girls improve so much over a short period of time. Once we find our feet in Premier League next year, we may even surprise a few teams. The atmosphere around the club generally is one of enthusiasm and hopefulness. At Nelson, whilst we are very serious about our football, we try not to take ourselves too seriously and that suits me down to the ground.

Australia 1-0 Paraguay

___________________________________

Australia’s new coach, Holger Osieck, continued his good start to his tenure with this creditable 1-0 home win over Paraguay at the Sydney Football Stadium.

That makes it two wins and a draw from three starts for the German supremo.

Paraguay looked good to begin with and dominated possession in the opening 10 minutes, but their only chance of the first half came when Nelson Valdez’s snap shot early on almost beat Mark Schwarzer, but the Australian captain was up to it. Valdez had scored both goals recently when Spanish La Liga newcomers Hercules beat Barcelona 2-0 at the Nou Camp.

Australia soon got into their stride, however, and midway through the first half created some excellent chances.

Tim Cahill got onto the end of Luke Wilshire’s free-kick and his header was well saved at the far post by Diego Barreto.

Jason Culina then sent in a fierce shot that Barreto did well to save, while Josh Kennedy headed another good chance wide.

Near the end of the first half, Australia had a genuine claim for a penalty when Mile Jedinak was pulled down inside the box by Victor Caceres, but referee Yuichi Nishimura waved play on.

Australia’s goal came in the 53rd minute. A cross from the right came off the back of Kennedy as he fell and dropped into the path of Blackpool fullback David Carney, who hit a bending left-footed volley inside the near post for the fourth international goal of his career.

Australia had only one scare after that, apart from a few incidents in which Paraguay players grabbed Australian opponents by the throat. In the 77th minute, Santander released Edgar Benitez down the left and he rounded Schwarzer on the left of the box and squared the ball across the goalmouth, but it was cleared by Jon McKain.

Australia survived the remaining quarter of an hour without difficulty to record a fine win over the highly rated World Cup quarterfinalists.

Before the match, Paraguay was ranked 17th in the world by FIFA, while Australia was ranked 24th.

The countries have now met five times, with Australia winning twice and three matches ending in draws.

____________________________________

Australia: Schwarzer - Wilkshire, North, McKain, Carney - Garcia (Brosque 90), Jedinak, Culina, Kewell (Vidisic 87) - Kennedy (McDonald 60), Cahill (McKay 76) [Substitutes not used: Thwaite, Valeri, Galekovic] [Coach: Holger Osieck]

Booked: Cahill

Goals: Carney 53

Paraguay: Barreto - Bonet, Da Silva, Veron, Rodriguez (C Benitez 81) - Camacho (Martinez 54), Perez (E Benitez 66), Caceras, C Riveros (Vera 77) - Valdez (Santander 76), Orue (M Riveros 52) [Substitutes not used: Molinas, Villar] [Coach: Gerardo Martino]

Booked: C Riveros

Att: 25,210 [Sydney Football Stadium]

Ref: Y Nishimura (Japan)