The Wellington Phoenix can confirm that Giancarlo Italiano has re-signed with the Club as Assistant Coach for a further two years, ensuring he remains with the Phoenix through the 2022/23 A-League season.
Giancarlo first joined the Phoenix for the 2019/20 season in a dual role of Head Analyst and Second Assistant, coming onboard at the behest of former Sydney FC colleague – and now Phoenix head coach – Ufuk Talay, before being promoted to Assistant Coach for the 2020/21 Season.
Nicknamed ‘Chiefy’, Italiano has extensive coaching experience at a grassroots level in Australia. He held several junior coaching roles before joining NPL side Blacktown City in 2015 as its Head of Football – that season’s side taking out both the NPL NSW Premiership and the NPL Australia title.
In 2017 Italiano was appointed an assistant to Sydney FC’s NPL and National Youth League teams, before being promoted to its NPL Head Coach in 2018.
Talay says that Italiano has been a welcome presence on the side lines since joining the Club.
“Chiefy has been great for us since he came on board, last season he stepped up to be an Assistant Coach during a difficult time for the Club – given our re-location to Wollongong and all the challenges that presented us and the players – so credit to him for his hard work during this time.
“Chiefy is smart, experienced and he’s earned the trust of the players over the past few years; we’ll look for him to play a key role in of our success next season and beyond.”
Italiano says he’s enjoyed his time at the Phoenix over the past two seasons and is excited by what the future holds.
“It’s a privileged position and obviously I have a lot of gratitude towards the Club; it’s a great place to be at, just the way everything is set up works well – it’s good to be part of,” says Italiano.
Reflecting back on last season, Italiano says that while it was challenging for everyone involved at the Club, he was impressed with the character and ‘grit’ showed by players and staff.
“As a coaching staff we tried to provide as much stability as we could to the players, even though it was a very different landscape they were in – being away from home and family, not having the ability to interact with fans on a personal level.
“It was challenging but in the end we don’t make excuses for the season; we all did really well to try and make Wollongong home and the environment as stable and productive as possible.”
Italiano says there has been a big emphasis on team building for the Club in the past few seasons, which he believes helped the players to get through last season.
“Back in the 2019/20 season we had a cultural awareness day in Wellington before the season; that really helped to set the platform for building team comradery – so that even with Covid and the re-location issues we faced, the squad all stayed really close-knit together.
Looking ahead to next season, Italiano sees the chance for the Phoenix to continue building on its late-season form.
“The goal is to always play the best football we can, to make the top six and put the Club in the limelight. And on a person level and a coaching staff level, to work hard and be consistent and have that always show in our play on the pitch.
“We also want to give the fans back what they deserve too; as much as it has been testing on us, it’s also been testing on all the fans too – as they’re what makes this Club what it is.”