Former player takes the reins as coach

THE Marconi Stallions have a new coach heading their soccer stable — Darren Iocca.

But he his no stranger to the Stallions' set-up and it was the confidence shown in him by the club's board and his knowledge of the organisation and rapport with the players that earned him the one-year appointment.

The former Marconi junior and National Soccer League player has been an assistant coach for the past three seasons.

Iocca, 39, got the nod as the new boss when Jean Paul de Marigny was appointed assistant coach at A-League club, Melbourne Victory, before Christmas.

"It's a dream come true," Iocca said. "Marconi is my club. I played here as a junior and in the senior grades and I've worked here for the past three years as an assistant and learned a lot from head coaches Luke Casserly and Jean Paul de Marigny."

Pre-season training began last week and the Stallions players have four sessions weekly getting ready for the National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 1 competition which starts on March 15 and is run by Football NSW.

The Stallions reached the finals last season and Iocca said there was a "strong foundation" to work with under his command.

"We've lost a few players but the majority of the squad are here again this year and we have plenty of young players," he said.

Iocca will also maintain his full-time job in transport with Austral Masonry.

"I start work at 5am each day and work to 1pm then I head home, have a little sleep then prepare for training which starts at 6pm four times a week."

The former Joeys under-17s and Young Socceroos under-20s player gave the game away at 27 — and that's when he considered becoming a coach.

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