Alistair Edwards is a former professional football player from Australia who has made a successful transition to coaching. A prominent forward, he made a name for himself with National Soccer League clubs Sydney Olympic and Perth Glory. He was also a favourite with Malaysian League teams Sarawak FA, Selangor FA, Singapore and Johor FA in the 1990s.
Alistair currently is engaged in various projects with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Football Federation Australia (FFA). These include Technical Study Group (TSG) Analysis of AFC competitions including the AFC Champions League, coach education courses for both the AFC and FFA and scouting international opponents for the Socceroo's upcoming fixtures.
As a coach he has extensive experience with both men’s and women's football having spent over a decade with various National teams in Australia. Alistair first foray into coaching was a 5 year Head Coaching role as the Head Coach of the WA National Training Centre Program, this commenced in 2001. In 2002, after impressing on his National Coaching Licence course he was appointed Assistant Coach of the Young Matildas, Australia’s U/19 Women’s football team. The following year the team qualified for the FIFA U/19 Women's World Championship in Thailand and after this tournament Alistair progressed to become Head Coach of the Australian team at the AFC U/19 Women's Championships in Malaysia where they become the first Australia team to qualify for a FIFA World Championship since joining the AFC. The FIFA U/20 Women's World Championship was held in Russia in 2006.
After the Russia FIFA World Championship Alistair assumed the Head Coaching Role with the Promising Matildas (comparable to the men's Olympic team) winning the ASEAN Championship in Vietnam in 2008 and acted as the Matildas Assistant coach in tournaments in Japan and China in 2009.
Edwards, along with Paul Okon and Alex Tobin was awarded one of the inaugural FFA Elite Coach Development Scholarships in 2008. As part of this scholarship he spent one month in Holland on attachment with Louis Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar and Han Westrhoff at Vitesse Arnhem.
Alistair next assignment was the Assistant Coach role with the men's U/20 team (Young Socceroos), he was appointed to this role at the end of 2009. This team embarked on many tours and competed in numerous international tournaments including trips to Argentina and Paraguay and the 2009 and 2010 ASEAN Championships in Vietnam where the team finished Runners up and Champions respectively. The Young Socceroos during this time progressed to the final of the AFC U/19 Championship in 2010 where they were beaten by DPR Korea 1 - 0. This tournament also doubled as the FIFA U/20 World Championships qualification tournament. In 2010 Alistair was also appointed to the Head Coach position of the Australian U/17 team (Next Young Socceroos) for the ANZAC Tournament in Canberra, he took up this role on a permanent basis in 2011 combining this role with that of National Assistant Technical Director.
In March 2013, Alistair was ‘loaned’ from his role of at FFA to take up the role of Head Coach of Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League, this appointment was initially on an interim ‘end of season’ basis. In seven weeks Alistair guided the team from last position to make the finals and as a result in May 2013, Perth Glory made the move permanent.
Edwards completed his Pro Diploma coaching qualification in 2011.
INTERNATIONAL PLAYING CAREER:
Alistair was a Socceroo between 1991–1997, scoring 5 goals in 22 appearances, and also represented Australia at the FIFA U/20 World Championship that was held in Chile, South America in 1987.
Born in Whyalla, South Australia to Scottish parents, Edwards' family moved to Kwinana when he was a child, where he joined the local football club, Kwinana United. He played all his junior football there representing Western Australia in every age group culminating in being the Vice-Captain of the team that won the 1986 Australian under-18 title. He made a couple of appearances for the state senior side at the age of 17, before attending the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. He then had a spell with Glasgow Rangers in Scotland, before joining Sydney Olympic and scoring the winning goal in the 1989 NSL grand final. After two successful spells in Asia and short stints with English clubs Brighton & Hove Albion and Millwall, he briefly rejoined Sydney Olympic before linking up with Perth Glory for whom he played 93 times and scored 24 goals, captaining the team in the 1999/2000 NSL Grand Final. In all, he made 173 appearances in the national competition.
Whilst playing for Perth Glory, Edwards graduated with an MBA from Edith Cowan University and also entered Local Government Politics when he was elected onto the Cockburn City Council from 2002 to 2006.
Since retiring as a player, Edwards has, in conjunction with his coaching, undertaken a number of roles in sport development. He worked as a Sport Consultant at the Western Australian State Government Department of Sport and Recreation from 2002 to 2005 and has since become heavily involved in the development of football in Australia.
From 2006 to 2009 Edwards, became the FFA Development and High Performance Consultant where his main tasks included conducting research in Japan, Holland, France and England on Talent Development and Identification as part of the FFA Development Review and to assist in the development of the FFA National Curriculum.
In August 2009 Edwards was appointed to the position of FFA Assistant Technical Director working alongside Dutchman Han Berger. This duel role within the FFA is in conjunction with his national coaching roles. This role was expended in 2011 to include the Technical management of the Nationwide National Training Centre and Skill Aquisition Programs.
Edwards has also, since 2007, been an AFC/FFA Advanced Licence Coach Instructor conducting Advanced Pathway coaching courses for the FFA. In 2008 Edwards was invited to Cambodia to conduct an Elite Coach Development Course on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission.
In July 2010, Edwards, upon the request from FIFA and the AFC conducted the B Licence coaching course for Women that was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was the first ever women's only B Licence to be conducted in ASIA. The participants were identified coaches from throughout ASIA including Japan, Korea Republic, Australia, Myanmar, China, Hong Kong, Chinese Tapei, Pakistan, India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
After this course, Alistair was included onto the AFC Elite Coaching Instructors list, one of only a select few throughout ASIA. He has subsequently instructed on a special refresher course for the AFC Project Future Batch Coaches that was held at the PAJU National Football Centre in Seoul, Korea Republic in September 2011. This course focused on Match Analysis using the AFC Champions League Quarter Final game between FC Seoul and Al Ittihad as well as the preparation games of the Korea Republic U/19 Women’s team in the lead up to their AFC U/19 Championships campaign.