There will be a new face in the Western United dugout this weekend when the Liberty A-League resumes following the resignation of Mark Torcaso.
Torcaso, the Victorian side’s inaugural manager following their introduction to the league last season, led them to a surprise Grand Final appearance, where they lost 4-0 to Sydney FC.
He resigned from club duties to fully concentrate on his role as head coach of the Philippines women’s national team. A job he took on in the summer following the World Cup’s conclusion. He replaced fellow Australian Alen Stajcic.
However, Torcaso and Western United aren’t severing ties completely. After announcing his departure, the club also revealed he will remain in an advisory role.
Western United’s changing of the guard
Speaking to the United’s website, Torcaso said: “I cannot wait to continue watching this team evolve — this team has the capabilities to go all the way. My connection with the women’s team will remain, just in a different way. I am looking forward to this and helping in whatever way I can.”
Currently eighth in the A-League, United quickly announced Kat Smith as the incoming manager.
Smith, who controversially left Western Sydney Wanderers on the eve of the new season, is returning to familiar surrounding. She was part of Western’s Development Squad, which acted as a precursor to the ALW side.
The new manager is keen to get started but was quick to pay tribute to her predecessor.
“Obviously, some really strong foundations have been laid, some good performances last season in the first year to get to the results and elevate to a Grand Final appearance,” she said.
“Of course we’re here trying to do one better. I’m really excited and can’t wait to get stuck in this week.”
Now back in Victoria, Smith will be in charge of former teammates Alana Cerne, Adriana and Melissa Taranto, and Natasha Dakic as she looks to build on the foundations left by Torcaso starting with a trip to Adelaide United this Saturday.