Experienced junior development coach Sam Calogero aims to further develop the SMJFL’s elite talent as head coach of the SMJFL Under 15 Interleague team in 2016.
As an 18-year-old Calogero began his coaching journey nearly three decades ago. Most recently, he has been involved at the Dandenong Stingrays as a development coach since 2006, and served as U15 V/Line coach at the Frankston & District JFL for the past seven years.
He is currently the Director of Coaching for the St Peters Football Club.
Calogero is also no stranger to the SMJFL Interleague set up. He took control of the Under 14 Division 1 team that came up against an all-powerful Yarra JFL line up last year.
And Calogero says there are a few things he will be looking to improve on in this year’s Junior Championships.
“More accountability… and just for us to control the footy more and really work back hard defensively,” Calogero said.
But while all involved in the program will be hoping for a South Metro Stars victory, the coach himself says he is more focused on improving the side and aiding the players’ individual development.
Ultimately, Calogero wants the SMJFL Interleague representatives to return to their clubs and be able to teach their teammates the lessons they’ve learned during the Interleague program.
“Our expectations are to be very competitive… and to improve on what we did last year, get better from last year,
“(We want) them to come out as better players and progress their footy as 16 year olds.
“Success for me (will be) that they will transition well back to their clubs, be educators of the players in their club… That’s what I want to get out of it.”
Calogero will this year be assisted by Gareth Snow, Chris White and Mark Louis.
Snow, the assistant coach of the Division 1 team, made a name for himself as the superstar captain of Old Mentonians in the VAFA. A gun footballer, he has donned the Big V of the VAFA represented side, as well as played VFL footy with the Casey Scorpions.
He has also coached Old Mentonians for the past two seasons, drawing upon all of the knowledge he has gained through his illustrious playing career to help develop the side.
White, a Level 2 accredited coach, will head up the Under 15s’ Division 2 team. He was also appointed the Division 2 coach of the Under 14 Interleague team in 2015.
White has a close affinity to the Oakleigh JFC, having played all of his junior footy at the club (from Under 9 right through to Under 17) before returning to coach his team to back-to-back premierships in 2014 and 2015.
The final member of the coaching panel is Louis, who will serve as the assistant coach of the Division 2 team.
Louis has a vast knowledge of football coaching to draw upon, having been involved in the caper for no less than 36 years. He boasts coaching Prahran Under 19s (then a VFA club, the precursor to the current VFL), Sandringham Dragons Under 16s, and involvement in Western Australian representative teams among his lengthy coaching CV.
He has also been involved in multiple premiership-winning teams at Collegians and Old Brighton Grammarians in the VAFA.
Calogero described his squad as “well-balanced” across the board and he has a great deal of confidence in his charges.
“We’ll go ok I think… I’m confident in the boys,” he admitted.
“We’ll be prepared to take the game on and back each other up that’s what we’ve got to do.”