Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Slater is a man on a mission

Luke Slater is set to open a new chapter in his soccer career, by swapping his whiteboard for the boardroom next season.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 9, 2013 4:15am

Former Cobram coach Luke Slater hopes to help rebuild the Goulburn North East Football Association’s reputation by joining the board this season.

Luke Slater is set to open a new chapter in his soccer career, by swapping his whiteboard for the boardroom next season.

The 33-year-old has stepped down as coach of Cobram and taken on the role of Goulburn North East Football Association secretary.

Slater will continue to play for the Tigers, but said he was ready to roll up his sleeves and ensure the sport was moving in the right direction at a district level.

“I feel rather than standing back and criticising other people it was time to put my hand up and have a go and try and bring some new life and new, unbiased and good ideas to the competition,” Slater said.

“I’m originally from England, but I’ve got some good ties to this area now.

“I’ve obviously got ties to Cobram and I have had a connection with the Shepparton Soccer Club, but I’d like to think anyone that has gotten to know me will know the game is what it’s about for me.’’

Slater joined Shepparton Soccer Club in 2002 and went on to win the league best and fairest award in 2004.

When Cobram came knocking in 2011, he parted ways with the Reds to pursue a coaching role.

This year Slater joins Frank Papallo, Jimmy Kalafatis and Michael Crisera on a new-look GNEFA board under returning president Frank Trimboli and he said one of the first orders of business was repairing the administration’s reputation.

‘‘I do think the GNE has had it’s reputation damaged a bit over the past few years and if you asked the clubs if they had a good relationship with the board, most of them would say no,’’ Slater said.

‘‘We want to build that again and be a board that is respected for the job it is doing and we’re only going to do that by doing a good job.

‘‘As an elected board it’s our job to make decisions, but we do need to be a bit more transparent.’’

Slater said some of the biggest challenges facing the board this year were growing the game at a youth level, as well as expanding the reach of the Regional Premier League.

“We’ve got something going in this region, there is obviously a big interest in the game at a youth level ... so it’s really important to focus on the youth and to ensure we get as many people, who are qualified to coach as we possibly can and that young kids are encouraged to play football in an environment that is friendly and supportive,’’ Slater said.

“With the new directors we’ve got some really good experience and some youth and I think the five guys that are on the board this year all have a genuine interest in the game and have experience in being involved in the game.

“Having that sort of deep-rooted knowledge of the game is really important and certainly it’s something that holds me in good stead.”

Slater admitted he was a little sad to give up coaching at Cobram, but did so proud of what he had achieved in a short space of time.

“I was disappointed with how it ended last year ... but I do look back and I think I did a pretty good job, it was the first time we had made finals in many years,” he said.

“We came up with quite a good style of football, which is not easy to implement at amateur level and I think we gained a bit of respect from around the other clubs.’’

Slater’s assistant and multiple GNEFA championship-winning coach Paul Amadei will take the Tigers’ reins for the upcoming season.

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