Graham Arnold to continue as Subway Socceroos Head Coach

Graham Arnold will remain Subway Socceroos’ Head Coach, after re-signing with Football Australia until the end of the next FIFA World Cup™ in 2026.

During the 2022 edition of the global tournament staged in Qatar, Arnold guided the Subway Socceroos to the senior national football team’s best result at a FIFA World Cup™, winning two group stage matches – including against the then world #10, Denmark – and progressing to the Round of 16, only to be defeated 2-1 by the eventual winners, Argentina.

Enroute to the 2022 Finals, the Subway Socceroos created a football milestone by becoming the first nation in FIFA World Cup™️ qualifying history to win 11 consecutive matches in a single qualification campaign, made even more remarkable by the fact the team could only play four of 20 qualifying matches on home soil due to the COVID pandemic.

On confirming the appointment, Football Australia Chair Chris Nikou said: “What Graham and the entire squad achieved under the most challenging of circumstances during the last FIFA World Cup campaign was exceptional, and we are delighted that we have secured his services for a further four years,” said Nikou.

“Football Australia is ambitious, where we expect continued progress and results from our senior and youth national teams, and through our discussions with Graham over recent weeks, we know our thinking is aligned on the future direction of Australian football and the Subway Socceroos,” concluded Nikou.

As a footballer, Arnold made 56 appearances for the Socceroos (1985 – 1997) and has played a leading role in Australian men’s senior and youth national teams over two separate periods from 2000.

Graham Arnold was mentored by Guus Hiddink (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

As demonstrated in Qatar, and before that at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the then Subway Olyroos’ Head Coach, Arnold’s deep understanding of modern Australian football and strength as a manager came to the fore, guiding both teams to outstanding tournament results after challenging qualifying campaigns.

The re-signing of Arnold will see a contingent of leading Australian Head Coaches driving the men’s national team programs forward over the coming years; Arnold (Subway Socceroos), Tony Vidmar (Subway Olyroos), Trevor Morgan (Subway Young Socceroos), and Brad Maloney (Subway Joeys).

Football Australia CEO James Johnson said the appointment of Arnold reflects the governing body’s renewed focus on developing the best coaches and footballers to deliver the country sustained success at every level on the international stage.

“Under Graham's guidance, the Subway Socceroos created Australian football history with their performance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, uniting the nation like never before,” said Johnson.

“Graham has contributed to some of Australian football's most iconic moments but his exploits as the Subway Socceroos Head Coach have propelled him into a league of his own. Under Graham's tenure, the Subway Socceroos were able to deliver world class performances and nurture the next generation of players. He cares deeply about Australian football, and we are thrilled that he has committed to Football Australia to help us continue to bring our vision for the game to life.

Graham Arnold has had his contract extended as Subway Socceroos Coach. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“We now have a stable of homegrown head coaches leading our men’s national teams, overseeing a growing pool of exciting footballers, and we have high hopes for the future of Australian football on the global stage,” concluded Johnson.

Of those who have coached Australia for more than 25 A International games, Arnold holds the second-best record (52 games: W29-D10-L13) ahead of Pim Verbeek, Holger Osieck, and Rale Rasic.

On signing on for a further four-year cycle, Arnold is looking forward to building upon the success of the Subway Socceroos in Qatar and creating more history for Australian football.

“I love Australia and I love Australian football, and nothing in football can ever match the elation, pride and sense of achievement, I and the entire set-up felt in Qatar,” explained Arnold.

“The hunger to continue in the role has never been stronger and I know I have more to give to the Socceroos’ program and Australian football, where I want to deliver more smiles for our fans as we did in Qatar.

“I approach the next four years with a clean sheet, which is underpinned by a burning ambition to provide more opportunities to our leading emerging and established talent, whilst challenging for major titles starting with the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar next year,” said Arnold.

In addition to his role as Head Coach of the Subway Socceroos, Arnold will provide mentorship to the Head Coaches of Australia’s men’s youth national teams, support Chief Football Officer Ernie Merrick with talent identification and pathways, and work with Football Australia to ensure football – grassroots to the elite – has access to the best facilities and infrastructure.

Graham Arnold with Tony Vidmar and Rene Meulensteen (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“I’m hugely passionate about our pathways and ensuring we are not only producing more elite talent through a connected pyramid, but making sure those footballers are getting the right opportunities to fulfil their dreams, whether it’s here in Australia or overseas,“ conveyed Arnold.

“I will be hands on with our men’s national youth team head coaches to support their own development and further strengthen our national team football philosophy.

“In addition to success on the field over the next four years, I want to help deliver results for football in the form of bespoke infrastructure for our game across Australia.

“Football is the world game, where for a country of 26 million people, we certainly overachieve based upon the funding and investment our game receives. For our sport not to have a National Home of Football, and for the Subway Socceroos to not receive any high-performance funding is something I want to support Football Australia to resolve over the next four years. As we saw, a successful FIFA World Cup campaign unites and inspires all Australians like nothing else does, and it is in the national interest to support both our senior national football teams,” concluded Arnold.

Arnold will be seeking to keep continuity and stability within his coaching and support staff during the next FIFA World Cup™ cycle, where he is looking to retain the services of experienced Assistant Coach René Meulensteen.

The Subway Socceroos are set to play several Friendly Internationals at home and abroad throughout 2023, before FIFA World Cup 2026™ Asian Qualifiers resume in November and the AFC Asian Cup 2023™ is staged in Qatar during early 2024 (AFC to confirm dates).

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