Football Federation Australia (FFA) Chairman Steven Lowy AM has paid tribute to the Caltex Socceroos for their displays of skill and courage in Russia over the past three weeks.
“Although the results didn’t go our way yesterday, the Caltex Socceroos have made Australia proud with outstanding performances against France, Denmark and Peru,” said Lowy.
“The team showed the world that they were able to match it with some of the best football teams at the tournament and have won support from around the globe as a result.
“This group of players led on and off the pitch by senior players Mile Jedinak, Tim Cahill, and Mark Milligan will definitely provide inspiration for young footballers around Australia who will hopefully also aspire to represent Australia at future World Cups,” concluded Lowy.
FFA CEO David Gallop AM echoed Lowy’s sentiments and thanked the Socceroos coaching and support staff including Head Coach Bert van Marwijk for their work with the team.
“The Caltex Socceroos once again performed admirably on the biggest football stage in the world,” said Gallop.
“The performances will be remembered for what might have been with critical moments making all the difference.
"The preparation from the coaching and medical support staff was world class. We must continue to give the team the level of support and training that gives them every chance of success as the AFC Asian Cup will soon be upon us.”
“On behalf of the Australian football community I would to thank Bert and his team for their service and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours,” concluded Gallop.
Meanwhile, FFA Head of National Performance Luke Casserly today confirmed that three long-serving, outstanding backroom staff have completed their respective tenures with the Caltex Socceroos.
Highly regarded physiotherapist Les Gelis, who has served the Caltex Socceroos for an astonishing 221 matches and at four World Cups has completed his time with Australia’s men’s national football team.
Gelis, who will now take up a senior position with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets as their Director of Sports Medicine, commenced his time with the Caltex Socceroos in 1997.
During his long tenure with FFA, Gelis has managed hundreds of elite Australian players, and at times led teams of physiotherapists at World Cups and Olympic Games.
Also departing Australia’s backroom staff is Head of Sports Science, Dr Craig Duncan. Dr Duncan has worked with the Caltex Socceroos for the past four years, and has played a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the elite S&C practices that the team is known for.
Finally, Caltex Socceroos Videographer Ben Coonan has also completed his time with FFA. Coonan, who has served Australian football in a variety of roles over the past 15 years, has been key in developing and modernising the digital outputs of the Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.
Coonan’s capacity to develop strong relationships with players, coaches, and staff, knowledge of the game broadly and Australian football specifically, work ethic, and technical ability has ensured that he has crafted a significant body of work.
“On behalf of FFA I would like to thank Les, Craig and Ben for their contributions to Australian football and Australia’s National Teams,” said Casserly.
“Les’ longevity in his role is unique to professional sports today.
“At all times Les, Craig and Ben have shown the utmost professionalism and dedication in their respective fields which will leave a strong legacy for the future.
“I am sure that Les, Craig and Ben will be successful at whatever they choose to do next,” concluded Casserly.
Lowy and Gallop also paid specific tribute to Gelis.
“Les Gelis has been a mainstay of the Caltex Socceroos’ set-up for a significant period, which is testament to his character and qualities,” added Lowy.
“Les’ commitment to his field, and contribution to many Australian National Teams deserves the utmost recognition from the Australian football family,” concluded Gallop.
An announcement will be made soon regarding the support staff for new Caltex Socceroos Head Coach, Graham Arnold.