Van ‘t Schip Returns To Australia

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has touched down in Victoria following a two-month scouting trip through Europe.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has touched down in Victoria following a two-month scouting trip through Europe.

Van ‘t Schip traveled throughout the continent in search of fresh talent for his inaugural Hyundai A-League squad, attending games in the likes of Holland’s Eredivisie and Spain’s La Liga.

The former Dutch international, who has now linked up with club assistant coaches Ante Milicic and Jesper Olsen, spoke to www.melbourneheartfc.com.au as preparations for Melbourne Heart FC’s competition debut intensify.

How did you find the find the scouting trip through Europe?

It was very interesting and I saw a lot of games. I visited three different countries and held many talks. I think I got a good view of how things could work out for us.

How receptive were people to the prospect of playing in the A-League?

The responses were different. Some players were very interested, but much depended on what kind of person they are and what stage they are at in their career. A very talented, promising player normally would not take the next step to come to Australia, which is also what you see here with young players who if they have the chance, would love to play in Europe. So they would first of all think of making a career in Europe, but there are a lot of players also who are at a certain level or certain period in their career that are open to listen and think about coming to Australia.

Do you feel the profile of Australian football has lifted overseas?

With Pim Verbeek coaching the Socceroos, Han Berger as technical director and Guus Hiddink previously working for the national team as well, there has been increased attention paid in Holland to Australian football and the A-League. However, it still is a long way from home, and the big competitions are still played in Europe, so it is going to take a long time to improve and develop that big name which will make players think ‘yeah, I-m going to go play in Australia-. The financial aspect and the influence of the salary cap play a part also. But we are still a young league and have room to grow.

Are you confident of being able to attract the club-s main targets to the A-League?

Yes, there is a chance, and I think it will only increase at the end of the European season when the players will know more about the situations at their actual clubs and the possibility of resigning. If the situation is clearer, they can make a decision to come or to say, ‘No, I would like to stay because I have another opportunity in Europe-.

Which areas of the park are you focusing on at this stage of the recruiting process?

For the moment, we will be looking for the players up front. That-s where our focus is, looking for players we feel can bring a little bit extra, and that is the main thing we were looking for abroad in Europe.

What are your plans for the approaching period as you await the arrival of the first members of the team-s squad?

I will still complete a lot of scouting along with Jesper Olsen and Ante Milicic (the club-s assistant coaches), watching a lot of games, having talks with players who we think could be interesting for us. And also of course, to keep in contact with Europe and be informed with the situations of players I have seen there.

Finally, when do you hope to commence training for next season?

The main preparations will begin in the middle of the year when our whole group comes together in Melbourne. But of course we will begin training much earlier with all the players whose seasons end soon, holding a number of different styled sessions focusing on introducing our philosophy.

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