Ricki Herbert will need to find a new assistant coach after Luciano Trani decided to move back to his native Australia for family reasons.
Trani, who has been with the Wellington Phoenix for the past two Hyundai A-League seasons, will take up a coaching role with Adelaide United but said that only came about after the decision to return home had been made.
The last two months have been traumatic for Trani with the death of his mother, along with his father being admitted to hospital in the wake of her passing.
It had also become more and more difficult for him living in Wellington while his wife Melinda remained in their Melbourne home.
“The past two years have been a fantastic experience for me and I will always be grateful to Ricki [Herbert] and Terry [Serepisos] for giving me the opportunity,” Trani said before boarding his plane today.
“Everyone who knows me knows how much I love football, and I have to thank Melinda for letting me follow my dream when the chance to join the Phoenix came up.
“Throughout the two years I-ve been away she has been nothing but supportive, but it is time for me to spend more time with her and Adelaide is a lot closer to Melbourne than Wellington.
“My mother-s passing hit the family very hard. My father is grieving and is in hospital at the moment. He, along with my brother and sister, needs my support.
“I am sad to leave Wellington and the Phoenix because it has been a joyous two years in my life.
“It was a huge challenge and taking someone on from Australia was a risk for the club in some ways, but I like to think myself and Gouldy [goalkeeping coach Jonathan Gould] have repaid the club-s faith by helping it reach the finals for the past two seasons.”
Trani said it had been a privilege to work with Ricki Herbert and it had helped him develop as a coach.
“Ricki showed faith in myself and Gouldy when he was often away on All Whites duty at the Confederations Cup and World Cup, as well as some friendly internationals.
“He also gave me the chance to work with some of the All Whites which was fantastic.”
Herbert said Trani would be missed at the club.
“Luch has been incredibly loyal and has done a great job,” Herbert said.
“He will be sorely missed, but I totally understand that he needs to be closer to home after what has been a very difficult period for him.”
Chief executive Nathan Greenham shared the coach-s sentiments.
“We regard Luciano-s departure as a big loss. He has been a key part of the club over the past two seasons, but realise why he has decided to return to Australia,” Greenham said.