An injection of talent from Canada has given Central League strugglers Western Suburbs a boost ahead of the new season.
The club, in partnership with the Olé Football Academy, has drafted Alan Koch as the Olé Technical Director, from Edmonton, Canada, where he was coaching in the Canadian Premier League.
Koch has been instrumental in attracting three players from Canada who will wear the Suburbs colours in the 2023 Central League, providing a boost to the side that finished second bottom in last year’s competition.
Main photo: Quillan Roberts (left) with Alan Koch. Photo: Olé Football Academy.
Recruits include international goalkeeper
The Canadian recruits include goalkeeper Quillan Roberts (28) who has represented Canada (one cap) and, after changing allegiances, Guyana (six caps). He played for Ontario club Electric City last year, after spells with a series of CPL clubs and one season MLS franchise Los Angeles FC.
The other imports are defender Malik Smith (23) who played for Virginia’s Liberty University’s Flames in the NCAA Division I competition, and forward Kairo Coore (22) who played last year with FC Edmonton, where Koch was head coach and director of football operations.
South Africa-born Koch (47) played professionally as a central midfielder and represented his country at U-23 level.
His 20-year coaching career has taken him to the United States and Canada before a summer move to New Zealand.
Announcing his appointment, Western Suburbs chairman Dean Eagar said:
“With Alan’s pedigree, he brings with him vast experience as we look to continue the development of our youngsters. Alan has a no-nonsense approach and an extensive understanding of the game.”
“I appreciate the opportunity and am exiting to work with everyone at the club.”
Goalkeeper Robers said:
“I’m excited to be here on the other side of the world doing what I love with such a great group! (I) hope my past experience and knowledge of the game will help us succeed over this coming season!”
Koch said Smith had trained with Edmonton’s professional team and went close to earning a contract.
“We are expecting big things from him and look forward to him using the Olé Western Suburbs platform to help elevate his career.”
Malik Smith said:
“When the opportunity presented itself, I knew it would be a great chance for me to experience a different culture while having the ability to sharpen and enhance my footballing skills and knowledge.”
Kairo Coore would add to Suburbs’ striking power, Koch said.
“Kairo will be a massive part on and off the pitch with what we are trying to build as an academy and team. He has a top-class mentality in terms of how he approaches the game and will be a fantastic role model for our younger players.
“He is still young and we will work incredibly hard with him to use our pathway as a platform for him to go have even bigger success in another professional league.”