Auckland City has appointed former North Shore United coach Valerio Raccuglia as its coach for the club’s men’s U-23 team.
He replaces Kris Bright who led the team to back-to-back Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division titles in 2021 and 2022.
Bright’s assistant coach from last season, Paul Drake, has also stepped aside, and Raccuglia and the club have yet to name Drake’s replacement.
Photo: Valerio Raccuglia … takes over City’s U-23 team for 2023. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Raccuglia told Auckland City’s website: “It feels special to be at Auckland City FC. The club has set the benchmark for football in New Zealand and I’m excited to get started.
“My objective is to help the young players be seen by Albert Riera and the first team coaching staff and continue the flow of players into the top team.”
Before joining North Shore United for 2022, Raccuglia had spells with Miramar Rangers, Wellington Phoenix, Bay Olympic and with the New Zealand U-20 and U-23 teams.
He was also recruited by the Oceania Football Confederation to coach in Samoa, spending two years there, coaching the U-19 men’s and women’s national teams.
The Auckland City U-23 squad has developed a large number of players who have progressed to first team football, including Adam Bell, Kristoff Muller, Matt Ellis, Will Eng, Brooklyn Heath and Ilham Hameedi.