Tony Popovic named coach of new A-League team

Former Crystal Palace assistant Tony Popovic has been named head

coach of the new western Sydney team in Australian football’s

A-League.

Football Federation Australia said Thursday that Popovic signed

a four-year deal to lead the side when it enters the 10-team

competition in the 2012-13 season.

Popovic has had assistant coaching roles with Sydney FC and the

League Championship’s Crystal Palace, where he was released from

his contract a year early this week.

”Certainly it’s a great challenge, but one that I can handle,”

Popovic said. ”We are short of time but we’re confident we’ll get

a good team, a competitive team from the outset and one that’s well

prepared.”

The new club also named Lyall Gorman as its inaugural executive

chairman, meaning he will step down from his role as A-League chief

executive.

Popovic and Gorman have set a goal of having a squad of players

to begin training on June 25. Recruitment will start immediately

with the new season beginning in October.

Sydney-born Popovic started his playing career with Sydney

United before spells with Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Crystal

Palace, where he was a former captain, Qatar’s Al Arabi and Sydney

FC.

The 38-year-old former center back played 61 internationals for

Australia, retiring soon after the 2006 World Cup.