Title-winning coach Steve Iosifidis will remain at the helm of Hoppers Crossing Soccer Club next year.
Iosifidis took the Reds to promotion in his first season in charge and will lead the club again as it moves up to a more competitive state league 2 competition.
The 41-year-old is coaching at his second club and was considering time-out from the position to spend more time with his young family, but that was quickly knocked on the head by his loved ones.
“I had a chat to my other half and I pretty much said I’d say no to the club,” Iosifidis told Star Weekly.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think that’s your heart talking; I can’t see you without soccer’.
“She just said, ‘Let me know what you need to do either way’.
“I called the president and I think the call went for about a minute.
“I said to him that, after the year we had, I can’t see myself saying it’s over. I said I’d be more than happy to come back, if you’re willing to take me on.
“That was the conversation, really.”
Iosifidis is looking forward to the challenge that state league 2 presents.
The Reds have been known as a family club, with a large chunk of the group coming through the juniors.
While Iosifidis believes the group will be able to stand on its own two feet in the higher division, he admits the squad will need to be bulked up if it’s to seriously make an impression next season.
With such a tightknit group at the Reds, he’s wary of a potential backlash from delving into the transfer market but sees it as a necessity to be competitive in the division.
“The existing group is going to have to accept that there will be a few new faces,” Iosifidis said.
“The boys have to expect, with state league 2, you’re playing against better players who are a lot fitter so certainly you need some additional players to throw into that mix. That goes with the territory.”
Meanwhile, the Reds had joint winners of the seniors’ best-and-fairest award this season.
Captain Brian Chesson and seasoned campaigner Joe Nave shared the club’s most prestigious honour.
“I think it was well deserved for both of them,” Iosifidis said.
“Joe Nave was outstanding throughout the year – one of the most consistent.
“Our captain [Chesson] is probably not the most vocal of the group but leads by example week in week out. He was one of the main reasons our defensive record was so strong.”