Historic Victorian football club Heidelberg United have this week announced their management and leadership teams for the upcoming 2022 NPL Victoria and NPLW campaigns, locking in club legends across the field.
Former player and now bonafide coaching legend at the club, George Katsakis, has again re-signed with the club for the upcoming season.
Katsakis, who began his journey at the former NSL side in 1972 has managed the Bergers since May 2007 has overseen extensive success at NPL level from being crowned NPL Victoria Minor Premiers in three successive seasons from 2017-2019 all the way to a National NPL title in 2017.
In the curtailed 2021 campaign Heidelberg sat at 6th on the table only six points adrift from the top three.
Katsakis expressed his excitement at the potential for another successful season, aiming to consolidate the rebuild currently occurring at Olympic Village when speaking to www.hufc.com.au
“After two years of stop-start competition, we’re looking forward to a full season coming up,” Katsakis said.
“We’ve brought in some new faces, and they’ve adjusted to be well-drilled for what the league is about.
“We need to be patient moving forward, as the quality that we have is definitely able to bring us some further success.”
In addition, former player and now assistant Steven Pace has signed up for season 2022, having spent over five years at the Bergers as a player.
Pace over the course of his career also plied his trade for South Melbourne, Essendon Royals, Preston Lions, Melbourne Victory and Hume City FC and is key to further his coaching development under the stewardship of Katsakis.
“It is going to be a very exciting season ahead for the supporters and club in general” said Pace.
“We saw a glimpse into the new-look Heidelberg outfit this year in a rebuilding phase for us at the moment.
“The supporters would have seen some great young talent coming through who had a good taste of NPL football.
“We are looking to strengthen the squad again for next year and fill those gaps that we feel need improvement.
“There are definitely exciting times ahead and I look forward to seeing everyone again for opening round next year.”
Brisbane-born left back Reuben Way has also been named Heidelberg United captain, now in his second stint with the club, having taken over the captaincy role in the 2020 season.
Way, who has almost 150 appearances for the Bergers has vast playing experience in both the A-League with the Wellington Phoenix and the NPL Queensland.
“I’m looking forward to having football back as it should be, and being involved in the community,” he said.
“I’ve had to earn my stripes over the years from a leadership point of view, but now that I’m part of the culture and fabric of the club, I’m really keen to take on this responsibility.
“The two years that I have been captain were very challenging, so I’m excited to open the floodgates and get out of this COVID traffic so that I can actually be the captain in a full season.”
In the incredibly strong women’s program, Heidelberg have re-signed manager Johno Clemente, entering his fourth year at the Bergers.
Clemente is only 22-years-old, making him the youngest senior NPL coach within Victoria.
Having led Heidelberg to a sixth place finish in the cancelled 2021 NPLW campaign, Clemente is keen to progress the women’s side further for the upcoming season.
“I’m expecting bigger and better things after an interrupted season – we are building something special,” Clemente said.
“There’s been some really strong foundations that we want to build on and I’m very happy with some of the results we got last season.
“The culture, energy, professionalism and standards that we’ve built together this season has been second to none.
“With the experience we got this year, we’re going to push on and I have no doubt we’ll improve in 2022.”
Today Heidelberg also announced the re-signing of captain Steph Galea for the upcoming season, joining a squad full of emerging and young talent eager to stake their claim as one of the premier sides in the NPLW.
Galea played her way through Heidelberg’s youth system, keen to utilise her experience for the upcoming season.
“Being captain of a big club with a lot of history like Heidelberg is an honour,” Galea said.
“After being involved in the junior program, it’s really good to interact with the players and set a good example for them and then assist with their development.”