Former Matildas assistant coach Vicki Linton will take the helm as head coach at Canberra United ahead of the 2020-2021 W-League season after the club sacked Heather Garriock back in February for failing to make the finals in her three-year tenure.
The 46-year-old was previously head coach of Melbourne Victory’s W-League team, leading it to back to back finals appearances in 2011 and 2012, and has spent the last three years coaching and mentoring young players in the US.
She is excited at the prospect of taking one of the W-League’s most successful teams – Canberra United has won three premierships, the equal most of any team – back to the top.
“I am looking forward to coming into the club and having an impact at senior level, and continuing to grow the Canberra United Academy program,” says Linton.
“Where United sits in Canberra’s sporting landscape is fairly unique to the Westfield W- League, which excites me. Canberra has always been a really well run club and it has had success in the past. It is a really exciting opportunity.”
While COVID-19 has thrown some uncertainty around the calendar of the upcoming season, and cast doubt on some of Canberra United’s stars, such as Matildas player Karly Roestbakken, returning to the W-League due to clashes with overseas leagues, Linton already has a direction in mind for the club.
“We do not know what the league is going to look like but the first priority is establishing your philosophy and the environment in which you want the players to play and develop,” she says.
“Every coach has a philosophy of how they want to play. I always like to create a specific style of play that is going to suit a specific team every season. I like a high-energy game; be aggressive without the ball and smart with the ball.
“I know Canberra United is an ambitious club and any competition where there are nine teams, you will want to finish in the top four.
Linton will be the fifth female coach to take charge at Canberra United, succeeding Heather Garriock, Rae Dower, Jitka Klimkova, and the late Lizz Migchelsen. She will also become the W-League’s second current female coach after Ash Wilson took over as Newcastle Jets’ head coach in the final stretch of last season.
“In the past, I spent time with Jitka [Klimkova] when I was working with the national teams at the AIS, and I connected with Lizz [Migchelsen] and Rae [Dower] when they were coaching Canberra United,” says Linton. “So I have always had a connection with the club.
“The last four head coaches being women says a lot about the club and the strong program it runs. It makes me proud to follow on from them, but with that comes a sense of responsibility which I look forward to living up to.”
Capital Football CEO Phil Brown welcomed Linton to Canberra United.
“We are very excited to have Vicki Linton on board as the new head coach of Canberra United,” he said.
“To have a coach of her experience at the helm of our women’s program in Canberra will give our Westfield W-League team every opportunity to succeed on and off the pitch.”
To keep up to date with Canberra United news, visit the club’s website.