Football SA Hall of Fame inductee our new First XI coach

He has coached in Europe and in Australia’s National Premier League – now, Simon Catanzaro is ready to lead Blackfriars’ First XI.

Catanzaro – who has stints with Adelaide United in the NPL and W-League and the Barcelona-based Kaptiva Sports Academy on his coaching resume – was thrilled to sign on to lead Blackfriars’ soccer stars.

“It’s a really fantastic opportunity,” said Catanzaro, who, in 2016, was inducted into the Football South Australia Hall of Fame.

Simon Catanzaro, right, with assistant coach and old scholar Jai King-Byrne and Soccer Academy Program Coordination Ernie Luongo.

“School soccer is really big at the moment and I am looking forward to coming and adding my touch to that.

“The school has had some fantastic coaches before me, so I just want to continue with that.”

In his younger years, Catanzaro played in the old National Soccer League with Northern Spirit, as well as with Campbelltown City and Adelaide Olympic in the NPL.

As a coach, he has led teams including Para Hills Knights and West Torrens Birkala and was Adelaide United’s W-League assistant and youth team boss.

He made the move to Barcelona in 2019, landing the role as Under-18s head coach with Kaptiva Sports Academy – a full-time establishment, likened to the AIS, that attracts players from around the world.

While he loved his time in Europe, the realities of Covid eventually forced a return home.

He now coaches Salisbury Inter Soccer Club in the WNPL. Under his leadership, the women won the WNPL Premiership, WNPL Grand Final and WNPL/WSL Cup in 2021.

“There are a lot of similarities between (the Spanish academy) and Blackfriars,” Catanzaro said.

“The boys I coached there were a similar age and they all … went to school together, so I am very familiar with the age group of that First XI. I can’t wait to get into it.

“I want to make sure that the boys have a sense of pride in playing for an elite school in Adelaide.”

Catanzaro and his family at a game in Spain. Picture: Supplied

Catanzaro takes over as Blackfriars Head Coach from former Socceroo and old scholar Joe Mullen (BPS’80), who is moving to a senior role at Toyota.

Principal David Ruggiero was thrilled to have secured a coach of Catanzaro’s calibre.

“Simon’s resume speaks for itself. He is an incredible addition to the Blackfriars team,” Mr Ruggiero said.

 “We look forward to him guiding our First XI and the boys benefitting from his extensive coaching knowledge.”

Catanzaro will work alongside Blackfriars’ long-time Soccer Academy Program Coordinator Ernie Luongo. 

The Blackfriars Soccer Academy is a highly specialised program available for students at all year levels – from the Early Learning Centre to Year 12.


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