NPL club Northcote City has rewarded a loyal son, announcing the appointment of Alex Gymnopoulos to the senior coaching position.
The long time youth coach and former player was seen as the ideal candidate, following the resignation of coach Goran Lozanovski at the end of the 2015 season.
Northcote City vice president and football operations manager Peter Kotsiris says of the appointment: “We felt that the time had come for Alex to step up, but more particularly, we needed to appoint a coach who understood the club’s culture and direction the club wanted to head in. That’s why even the other candidates interviewed were Northcote-related people that were involved with the club in the past.
“At the end of the day, we thought Alex was the best fit given that a lot of the players he’s coached in the under 20s have progressed into the senior ranks.”
There can be little doubt that Gymnopoulos has a thorough understanding of the club’s history and culture.
The 48-year-old’s time at Northcote stretches back 30 years to the ’80s, when he played for the club under his favourite coach, former South Melbourne legend Jim Pyrgolios.
He played through to the early 2000s, when current Heidelberg coach and cousin George Katsakis was at the helm.
Since retiring he has served the club in various coaching roles over the last 10 years, including stints as assistant senior coach to Michael Michalakopoulos in 2004 and his good mate Peter ‘Gus’ Tsolakis from 2008.
For the last five years, Gymnopoulos has been in charge of the Under 20s youth team, leading them to the title in 2013 and finishing runner up in 2014 and 2015.
Regarding his appointment, Gymnopoulos told Neos Kosmos he was “honoured and humbled by Northcote offering me the senior gig”.
“Northcote’s vision has always been about trying to produce your own players and give those kids from the Under 20s an opportunity to play senior football.”
Gymnopoulos is aware of the challenges the senior coaching job brings.
“Being a youth team coach, it’s just about producing players and developing players, whereas in senior football, it’s all about performance and winning points. It’s cut throat. There’s a lot more pressure, driven by results.”
Gymnopoulos says he has played under and learnt from a number of coaches from the local game including the aforementioned Pyrgolios.
He says playing under Chris Taylor at Green Gully was a pleasure.
As a youth player at Heidelberg he played under coach Brian Garvey alongside team mates who went on to coach at Premier League level, including the championship winning Bentleigh Greens, coaching team of John Anastasiadis and John Gabrilelson, as well as Peter Tsolakis.
He credits Tsolakis and Michalakopoulos, as well as his cousin George Katsakis, as helping him to learn the skill of coaching over the last ten years.