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Blackfriars appoints former Socceroo and old scholar Joe Mullen as head coach

Blackfriars appoints former Socceroo and old scholar Joe Mullen as head coach

Mr Mullen, the current Football Federation SA Coach of the Year, comes to Blackfriars…

Ernie Luongo and Joe Mullen with Blackfriars Soccer Academy students
Joe Mullen pictured with students from Blackfriars Soccer Academy and Program Coordinator, Ernie Luongo.

Mr Mullen, the current Football Federation SA Coach of the Year, comes to Blackfriars fresh from coaching Campbelltown City Soccer Club to multiple State and National Premier League championships.

As a player, Mullen lays claim to three National Soccer League (predecessor to A-League) titles as a striker for Adelaide City, where he won player of the year for three consecutive years (1986-1988). He also represented Australia in 1987-88.

Since finishing his playing career in 1996, Mullen has managed and coached teams across South Australia and Victoria. He has specialised experience coaching youth teams, working as coach for the South Australian under-23 from 2006 to 2008, and as the inaugural coach of the Adelaide United Youth side from 2008 to 2011.

In 2005 Mullen won the Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) Award of Distinction for his contributions as both a player and coach.

An old scholar of Blackfriars himself, Mullen (BPS’80) says he is looking forward to being back on home turf.

“It’s really great to be coming back. Blackfriars is the only school I would’ve really considered coaching at,” he says.

Ernie Luongo and Joe Mullen
Ernie Luongo (left) and new First XI coach, Joe Mullen (right).

Mullen will take control of the school’s First XI squad, working alongside his former Adelaide City teammate, long-time Blackfriars Soccer Academy Program Coordinator and Old Scholar, Ernie Luongo (BPS’82).  The Blackfriars Soccer Academy is a highly specialised program available for students at all year levels – from the Early Learning Centre to Year 12.

Blackfriars Principal, Mr Simon Cobiac, who taught Mullen at Blackfriars in 1980, says welcoming him back to 17 Prospect Road is a major coup for the school.

“We are thrilled to have such an exceptionally qualified and outstanding contributor to soccer in South Australia as part of our Academy,” he says.

Graduates of the Blackfriars Soccer Academy have gone on to represent Australia at various age levels, to further training and study at the Australian Institute of Sport, and a number have signed professional contracts with a variety of A-League and FFSA clubs.

Most recently, Carlo Armiento (BPS ’17) has signed to Perth Glory for the remainder of the 2019/20 A-League season and AFC Champions League. Meanwhile, 2019 Blackfriars Sportsman of the Year, Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, and fellow 2019 graduate, Jai King-Byrne, both represented Australia at the youth level last year, with Lawrie-Lattanzio last week scoring the sole goal for Melbourne Victory in the Y-League Grand Final against Sydney FC.