Australia’s Postecoglou to join Yokohama in J-League

SYDNEY (AP) Outgoing Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has confirmed he will take over as head coach of Yokohama F. Marinos in the J-League from February.

The 52-year-old announced his shock resignation from the Socceroos in November, weeks after guiding Australia through a lengthy qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Rather than staying to lead the Socceroos in Russia he indicated he intended to return to club coaching. He most-recently guided Brisbane to back-to-back A-League titles in 2011 and 2012.

Postecoglou was expected to look to Europe for his next appointment but revealed Tuesday the reason for his surprise departure as Australia coach was that he was joining Yokohama, which won the most-recent of its five J-League titles in 2004.

He replaces Frenchman Erick Mombaerts whose contract is not being renewed after Yokohama’s fifth-place finish in 2017. Mombaerts is staying on until the end of the Emperor’s Cup knockout tournament in which Yokohama will play Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday.

”I am excited to be moving to Japan and returning to club football,” Postecoglou said. ”Coaching YFM will be a great challenge and I am very much looking forward to working with the club’s players and young players in particular to achieve success.”

Yokohama president Koichiro Furukawa said Postecoglou was chosen for his ”attractive and entertaining style of football” and his commitment to youth development.

”At the Marinos we are committed to developing players and Ange has a very strong record in doing this. We are confident that he is the perfect choice to take us forward,” Furukawa said.

Postecoglou will be the first Australian to coach in the J-League since Graham Arnold’s short-lived tenure with Vegalta Sendai in 2014. Arnold is expected to take over from Postecoglou as national coach.