WA FOOTBALL history-maker Richard Garcia has been appointed as Perth Glory’s new Head Coach for the next two seasons. He takes over from Tony Popovic, who recently quit the club to take up a coaching post in Greece.
A former Glory skipper and Socceroo, Garcia has worked as an Assistant First Team Coach and Head Youth Coach of the PGFC Academy since hanging up his boots in 2017.
The 39-year-old enjoyed an illustrious playing career, during which he represented Hull City in the English Premier League, featured for the Socceroos at the 2010 World Cup, won 18 senior international caps and made over 50 Hyundai A-League appearances for Glory.
Perth-born Garcia made history in 2010 when he became the first West Australian to take the field of play in a World Cup finals campaign when he was in the starting line-up for Australia’s Group D match against European heavyweights Germany, who won 4-0.
Coach Pim Verbeek opted to start Garcia as a central attacker against Germany. The then Hull City man – who also made another bit of history when he became the first Tiger to play at a FIFA World Cup – worked tirelessly against the Euro superstars before being replaced midway through the second half by Nikita Rukavytsya.
Ironically, former Perth Glory, Perth SC and Inglewood United striker Rukavytsya became the second WA player to take part in a World Cup finals game.
Rukavytsa was also used as a sub in Australia’s second group game – a 1-1 draw with Ghana – while Garcia came on as a late sub as the Socceroos finished their campaign in South Africa with a 2-1 win over Serbia. The Aussies were pipped by Ghana on goal difference for the chance to advance to the knockout stage.
Garcia is looking forward to his latest challenge as Glory’s head man.
“Being a proud WA boy and having played for and captained Perth Glory, it’s a great honour to now be in a position to take the club forward,” he said.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal Members and fans for their ongoing support during what has been a very testing year due to the issues caused by COVID-19 and I hope we will have them back at HBF Park roaring us on in the near future.”
Glory owner and chairman Tony Sage said: “Richard is an outstanding young West Australian coach who has a deep understanding of our football club and what it represents within the WA football community. He served Perth Glory with distinction as a player and I know he will do likewise as Head Coach.”
Garcia started his career as a junior at Olympic Kingsway, following in the footsteps of his older brother Michael, who would go on the represent Australia at under-age level. Richard joined the West Ham United Academy in the UK at the age of 15 and went on to spend seven years with the London club.
During that time, he was a part of the side that won the FA Youth Cup and FA Premier Youth League double and would go on to make 16 first-team appearances before completing a switch to Colchester United in 2004.
In 2007, he moved on to Hull City where he enjoyed further success in the form of promotion to the Premier League and he opened his top-flight account against Blackburn in his second appearance of the 2008-09 season.
It was during his time with the Tigers that Garcia broke into the Socceroos side having earlier represented his country at Under-23 level and the highlight of his 18-cap international career came in 2010 when he represented the Socceroos at the World Cup in South Africa.