GOLDEN City has scored a major off-season coup, announcing Nathan Claridge as senior coach for the 2018 BASL season.
Claridge, a three-time championship coach with league powerhouse Eaglehawk, joins the Rams after spending last season in an administrative role and overseeing the junior program at Truscott Reserve.
He takes charge of a club which last won a senior men’s championship in 1994 and has since endured plenty of lean years.
Claridge said his move to Shadforth Park followed approaches from Golden City officials over the summer.
He praised the club for its persistence in luring him away from the Hawks.
“In all sincerity, they have been wallowing in the cellars of local soccer for a long time, but had been a powerhouse club,” he said.
“So, the thought of coming to a club like this, with its back against the wall and not having won many games in recent years, and making a difference and doing something to make them competitive again, is a challenge I was very keen to take on.”
Claridge, whose career as a player took him to college in Oklahoma in the United States and the NPL with Green Gully before injuries intervened, said the decision to leave Eaglehawk was not one he had made lightly.
“I coached three senior championships at Eaglehawk and was then out of it for a bit and came back and was on the committee and ran the junior program,” he said.
“So it was a difficult decision.
“I pondered over it, talked to people – my dad (Bruce) being one – over the last few weeks, working out what the right thing to do was. It was a tough decision.
“But talking to the committee here at Golden City, I am confident we can start taking some steps forward and get some results and work our way up from the bottom of the table.”
Claridge’s coaching career in the BASL has also included a short as senior coach at Colts United.
He previously coached Bendigo City FC’s under-23 team and was a senior assistant under Greg Thomas in 2014.
Golden City president Nik Pell said he was thrilled with the appointment and believed
I am confident we can start taking some steps forward and get some results and work our way up from the bottom of the table.Nathan Claridge
“It’s a big thing in Bendigo soccer to get someone with Nathan’s experience and qualifications,” he said.
“He’ll add some professionalism that we probably haven’t had in the past.
“We’ll be looking to Nathan to not only be our senior coach, but to implement a whole junior program.
“It’s been quite a few lean years for our club, but we are trying to turn that around and this is a great first step.”
The club has appointed Andrew McMillan as its women’s coach, while Caydyn Kearin will take charge of the Rams’ youth team.
With the appointments in place, focus for the Rams will quickly turn to recruiting.
Claridge remained tight-lipped on potential targets, but said he had spoken to a number of former Bendigo City players following the clubs’ decision not to field a senior state league team in 2018.