MARK Rudan is a busy man, juggling his commitments at Sydney United 58 FC with his family and burgeoning career in the media.
But the former Sydney FC legend wouldn’t have it any other way, and happily admits to “living on the edge”. Coaching and the media, after all, are two of the most insecure professions going around.
With five wins from five in this year’s PS4 Preseason Cup, the Reds look in fine fettle ahead of the final against Sydney Olympic on Sunday and Rudan is happy with how the campaign has played out so far.
“It’s been solid, the boys are working well and we’re getting the improvement we’re looking for,” Rudan said.
“We’ve got real depth in the squad.”
Glen Trifiro and Liam Reddy were major losses when they signed for the Central Coast Mariners last year, while Mirjan Pavlovic’s departure to Indonesia and Chris Triantis’ long term injury left United light on experience last time around.
A quality spine is key to any successful team, and Rudan was busy in the off-season. Pavlovic is back and Triantis is fit, while former Sutherland Sharks stalwarts Panni Nikas and Nick Stavroulakis have joined to bolster the centre of the park.
Former Sydney FC, North Queensland Fury and Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield will be between the sticks and Anthony Proia and Daniel Dragicevic will also add spark to United’s side.
“Last year we lost Reddy and Pavlovic, and Triantis was injured,” Rudan said.
“We needed to improve the squad and we were proactive right from the beginning. Nick Stavroulakis is an experienced campaigner and I know Pasfield from when we were at Sydney FC.
“Anthony Proia has come in too, and we scouted Daniel Dragicevic when he was at the Palm Beach Sharks.
“We had to weigh up the way we want to play the game and get in the players that fit the profile.”
Rudan is still wet behind the ears. He is entering his fourth season of senior coaching, after coaching the majority of the 2012 season at Rockdale City Suns before returning home to United the season after, where he won the Premiership and the inaugural National Premier Leagues competition in his first campaign back at Edensor Park.
The 39-year-old is still developing as a coach, and said it was all part and parcel of life in the dugout.
“It’s always a learning curve, I’m still eager to learn and it’s an important element,” Rudan said.
“There’s so much to coaching, even speaking to someone like Ante Milicic who was at Wanderers and now the Socceroos, there’s so much to learn.
“I think any coach will tell you the same thing.”
Sydney United 58 FC Key Signings: Justin Pasfield, Nick Stavroulakis, Panni Nikas, Anthony Proia, Daniel Dragicevic
– by Matthew Lopez, National Premier Leagues Men’s 1 Editor