Sydney Olympic senior coach and Technical Director Gorka Etxeberria says Sydney Olympic are ‘growing up’ as a club as the Spaniard looks to lead the Blues to success in 2018.
Exteberria arrived in Belmore in June last season and guided Olympic to a fifth-place finish but were eventually eliminated in round one of the finals by would be Champions Manly United.
Despite the premature exit, Exteberria’s Olympic had embraced the Spaniard’s philosophy and offered glimpses of the exciting potential that the coach says will be fully unveiled when the 2018 NPL NSW campaign commences in a month’s time.
“We are very excited about the season because Olympic is growing little by little”, he said.
“It was not an easy moment when I arrived last year because not only was I adapting to a new country and Australian football but the players were adapting to my style and my philosophy.
“But every day the players are finding this easier.
“We want to win, of course, the goal this season is always to win.”
Etxeberria carries an immensely decorated history of coaching experience among a catalogue of storied clubs in Spain and is already becoming a central figure in fostering the development of the game at one of Australia’s proudest and oldest institutions.
“I am enjoying it, Australia is a marvellous country.”
“The only thing that is difficult for me is learning English.”
“But what makes this easy is that Australia has a very good sporting culture, so it is easy to understand the culture of Australian football and help Sydney Olympic learn from the footballing culture of Europe.”
Olympic were one of the league’s canniest outfits under Exteberria’s reign last season and the Belmore club have bolstered their squad significantly courtesy of a range of recruitments on the local and international spectrum.
Versatile Sydney FC youngster Nicola Kuleski joins teammate George Timotheou in making the move from the Sky Blues, while talented Sutherland Sharks prospect Callum Fitzpatrick will also don Olympic blue this campaign.
Further recruitments in the defensive third include the additions of former Sydney United 58 defender Riley Woodcock and promising youngster Rafael Jimenez Serrano, a former Australian youth international with experience in Spain.
Yu Kuboki was Olympic’s central goalscoring threat in 2017 with 11 goals but the Japanese attacker’s departure has been filled by experienced Spanish attacker Alejandro Sanchez from second division outfit CD Tuledano.
Sanchez has featured in a handful of La Liga matches and will not only provide goal scoring nous but offer a potentially lethal combination with front-man Radovan Pavicevic.
Olympic fans get their first chance to see the pair in action when they host Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday 11th March at 3.00pm.
-By Jacob Windon