Image: Smile for Peter
Adelaide United’s Huss Skenderovic is no stranger to Victorian football, having narrowly missed out on promotion into Victoria’s top flight in 2016 with Dandenong Thunder.
With a broad history as a player and coach in the game, Skenderovic began his ascent into coaching over a decade ago at Richmond – as an assistant to both Phil Stubbins and Mike Chatzitrifonas – helping the Eagles claim the 2010 VPL Premiership before embarking on managerial roles with the Western Suburbs and Oakleigh Cannons.
After returning from three years learning his craft overseas, Skenderovic took over the relegated Thunder, and while he did not achieve promotion in 2016, the season still highlighted many positive aspects of his as a coach.
These did not go unnoticed as Adelaide United came calling, making him head of youth development and women’s football shortly after the commencement of the NPL2 season.
It has been two and half months since Skenderovic’s move to Adelaide was made official, and he is relishing his opportunity on Australia’s national stage.
“I love Adelaide, I’ve adapted well and settled well, there’s been a transition period, but all-in-all I love life in Adelaide,” he said.
Any step up from an NPL environment to the national stage is considered a considerable step-up, with Skenderovic noting infrastructure and player motivations as the most immediately noticeable differences in a full-time environment.
“The infrastructure is a lot more professional obviously in the A-League,” he said.
“The players have that desire to be pro footballers which makes our job easier, whereas in the NPL there are players there who are content with playing that level of football.”
Having spent three years in the Persian Gulf occupying the role of technical director at UAE Pro League club Ajman, while also working as an assistant coach to Brazilian legend Zico at Indian Super League club FC Goa, the Football Federation Australia A Licensed coach is thriving on the challenges and new knowledge he is faced with in the City of Churches in the next phase of his career.
“The game is faster and other teams, when opposition teams do control parts of the game, you have to think of different tactics to be able to compensate them,” he said.
“Although, these challenges give me confidence in my own ability that when we do get it right, we do stick to what I believe and how I see football.”
“It’s clear and evident that at this higher level its enjoyable and it gives me that confidence to be able to put out a game plan tactically with some technical aspects to the game.”
Skenderovic also detailed the planning that goes into a week of training, and each session has specific meaning to benefit the footballer as an individual as well as their role within the squad as a whole.
“We normally get together and plan our week prior to the week coming in,” Skenderovic details.
“We identify key problems or issues that we need to address tactically and then we periodise how were going to work that both technically and tactically.
“We have a training session very early in the morning, we plan that in terms of a footballing conditioning model, they have a gym program, we also incorporate video analysis individually as well as a collective.”
“The training base is secluded, it’s fantastic to rock up everyday knowing that your office environment of football is at that high level and makes it easy to plan for game day.”
Like James Robinson at Brisbane, Skenderovic has been another NPL Victoria head coach with an opportunity at national level, and he has embraced his dual role with Adelaide’s women and youths.