Australia women’s national team coach Ante Milicic quits

SYDNEY (AP) — Ante Milicic has resigned as coach of the Australia women’s national team to concentrate on his job in men’s soccer leading A-League expansion club Macarthur FC.

The former Socceroos striker led the Matildas into the round of 16 at the 2019 Women’s World Cup after replacing Alen Stajcic earlier that year.

It was also announced in 2019 that he would become the first coach of Macarthur on a three-year deal, starting after the 2020 Olympics. However, the postponement of the Tokyo Games until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced Milicic to change those plans.

“FFA respects Ante’s decision to honor his contract with Macarthur FC,” Football Federation Australia chief executive James Johnson said in a statement. “We would have loved Ante to remain in the role for Tokyo 2020 and beyond, However FFA and Ante agree that overseeing two elite teams is not a workable solution, with both programs deserving of, and requiring, complete focus.”

Milicic said he was disappointed to have to resign but felt he had to honor the commitment he made to Macarthur, which is due to debut in the A-League later this year.

“In an ideal world, we would have been in Japan right now just days away from the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Milicic said.

Milicic’s replacement, who the FFA is now searching for, should get the chance to coach Australia when the country co-hosts the 2023 Women’s World Cup with New Zealand.

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