Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with Romeo Jozak, Director of the Dinamo Zagreb Youth Academy

Photo: Romeo Jozak

Interview with Romeo Jozak, Academy Director of Dinamo Zagreb, conducted in Glenorchy on Saturday, 4 July 2009.

Walter Pless: What is your role with Dinamo Zagreb?

Romeo Jozak: I am the academy director of Dinamo Zagreb, which is pretty much the central person of the entire youth development program.

WP: Are you a former player of Dinamo?

RJ: I used to play with Dinamo for a couple of games, but I was generally a first division player in Croatia, But, I ended up, let us say, as an expert nowadays in Croatia as a lecturer, with a masters degree, and I’m into, let’s say, the new generation of youth soccer coaching.

WP: How old are you?

RJ: I’m thirty-seven.

WP: What brings you to Australia?

RJ: I was in Australia a couple of months ago to visit Croatian clubs in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. We ended up having a conversation regarding possible relationships between our club and the communities here in Australia regarding some kind of a bonding between the clubs here and us as a club over there regarding possible organisation of certain clinics where we would provide our training sessions and everything that we know about soccer.

And then, at the same time, the idea is to look for players that could, maybe, keep up to the level we have back home. We would then invite them to come to Zagreb and see how far we can get from there. That’s the general idea.

WP: And you’ve set up an academy or clinics in Melbourne?

RJ: Oh yeah. We had this week an academy that finished yesterday [Friday], and tomorrow [Sunday] we’re heading off to Canberra. It went okay. We actually invited two players out of that academy that we had over there - one player is Croatian, the other one is Greek. We, as a club, don’t necessarily go in the direction of Croatian people only. We have a need for quality, and these guys definitely showed some potential and we invited them to come to Croatia, and they will come, and we’ll see what’s going to happen.

WP: What was the purpose of your visit to Hobart?

RJ: People from Melbourne that we know told us that possibly there were people in the Hobart Croatian community, and also other people, who have an interest in organising such a clinic, such an academy, such a camp, for next summer, that is, for your winter, and we actually negotiated and talked about that possibility and so far it looks okay. So, there’s a chance that we might do it next summer.

WP: It must be a bit disappointing that there’s no game on in Hobart today during your stay?

RJ: Yeah. We were kind of hoping to see the level of the whole football environment, but hopefully, again, this is not the last time we’re here, so we’ll see what’s going to happen in the future.

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