Coolen’s new four year deal, which was finalised late yesterday and comes on the cusp of the Reds’ participation in the 2010/11 finals series, is a clear message from the Adelaide United hierarchy of the regard the former professional Dutch league player and coach is held in.
Since Coolen was first appointed in July last year, Adelaide United has risen from cellar dwellers in 2009/10 to going undefeated in their first 11 games of the current season and being firmly entrenched in the top four.
Adelaide United Chairman Greg Griffin stated that securing Coolen’s services long term have been a priority since the club’s new ownership consortium took over the reins and that it is a significant step in where the club is heading, both on and off the pitch.
“When we first assumed ownership of the club, one of our priorities was to put in place the extension of Rini’s contract. We were extremely impressed with what he had done on the field, and his plans off the field,” Griffin said.
“From his experience Rini has a great knowledge of the game, I think he has a lot to give us in terms of coaching methods and development, and he’s very much on the same page as us in terms of developing the right culture to take this club forward.”
“So for us to be able to secure him at this early stage for a further four years is an incredibly pleasing event.”
On top of winning championships, being successful and making frequent appearances in the Asian Champions League, Griffin says Coolen and the club’s board also share an emphasis on nurturing young local talent and establishing a detailed pathway for aspiring junior players to have the chance of playing for the Reds.
Thus the reason the club was eager to offer Coolen a lengthy contract, to reinforce this vision and give the former FC Twente boss the time and every opportunity to make this happen.
“We decided to make it a four year deal because in essence many of Rini’s plans require time, particularly in respect of our junior development program and elite junior athlete programming,” Griffin said.
“It needs time to put into place so that you can actually get the benefit of the work, so a one or two year deal would have meant that the junior program would have been greatly devalued.”
“What we want to see is a very effective and high class junior development program that feeds young South Australians into a Reds shirt.”
Having brought his European style and intent on playing attractive, entertaining football to the Reds, Coolen is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to put his imprint on the club’s on field direction.
“I am thankful to the people that helped bring me out to Australia and from the time the new owners came in, they have given me fantastic support and I am extremely grateful for the faith they have shown in me,” Coolen said.
“Looking at the great support this team has from its fans, I can see that Adelaide United is going places and being able to be part of it is something I am really excited about.”
The father of two is passionate about growing the game further in South Australia and he sees it as a fantastic challenge and is privileged to be assigned with the responsibility.
“We spoke about it (a new deal) a couple of months ago and took the time to arrange it. Finally the deal is done and I’m very happy because when the new owners came in, I found out that they were looking forward at the big picture and it was in the same line of thoughts of how I prefer to work,” Coolen said.
“We have already made a lot of good steps this year and there are still a lot of steps to go for the future. For that we need more time and that’s what they gave me. It gave me a lot of confidence when the club asked me to do this for so many years and I’m happy to do it.”
“So we have to go through a number of processes to make another step and play entertaining football and get results, and also work on developing everyone around the club, and that includes the senior and the youth coaches, the young players, as well as paying a lot of attention on developing the local players as well.”
While Coolen is set to have a lot on his plate over the next four years, his first assignment is to mastermind a win over Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide Oval on Friday night. Tickets for the match are available through Ticketek.