Reno Lia is back coaching at Shepparton South.
The stalwart played a significant hand in helping South to its inaugural Bendigo Amateur Soccer League grand final victory this season, but he will take the reins as the club’s senior coach and director of football.
Lia will take over from former playing co-coaches Joel Aitken and Nathan Radevski, who led the club for just one season.
South president Gino Cirillo was thrilled to have Lia on board in a permanent role and feels his club has secured one of the Goulburn Valley’s best coaches.
‘‘We are really happy, he will have a dual role,’’ Cirillo said.
‘‘He applied for the role and we happily accepted it, it is great for our club going forward and we at the club, believe that he is one of, if not the best coach in the area.’’
Lia has previously had stints with South, Tatura and in 2013 he was named head coach of the Goulburn North East Football Association team that faced Melbourne City (then Melbourne Heart).
‘‘He has a lot of experience behind him, so it is a good time to be at South,’’ Cirillo said.
South was dealt a blow with Sean Grant leaving to join Tatura as playing coach, while Toby Ferguson’s future is also in doubt with potential visa issues looming.
‘‘There will definitely be a few changes, but we are more than confident that the club is heading in the right direction,’’ Cirillo said.
‘‘Toby needs to sort out a few visa issues, while Tim Lardener, who was training with the GV Suns, is likely to play on again next season.’’
When questioned as to whether South would be looking to replace Grant, who scored 17 goals in 14 games, with another foreigner, Cirillo suggested his club would look locally first.
‘‘We will wait and see, but first and foremost we are confident with the players that we have coming through our junior ranks,’’ Cirillo said.
‘‘We have a strong foundation and there are also a lot of talented local Goulburn Valley soccer players that we are either talking to or keeping an eye on.’’