Arsenal have signed Aaron D’Antino from Geelong in Australia to act as Joe Montemurro’s senior assistant coach for the women’s side.
D’Antino flew out on Wednesday to join Arsenal according to the Geelong Advertiser, leaving his wife and one-year-old child at home. They will join him in January.
He was not the first to be offered the role. A ‘contact’ known to Montemurro from his Melbourne City days passed on the opportunity. When D’Antino heard about the vacancy, he managed to get in contact with the Arsenal women’s team manager, meeting him for coffee and convincing Montemurro he is the man for the job.
He will be in position for Arsenal’s friendly against Juventus.
“We’ve been talking about this for a long time, I guess we’ve fantasised about the idea of one day being able to operate overseas,” he told the Geelong Advertiser.
“We always planned it, hence me having my European passport.
“Naturally, when the offer came, it all happened very quickly. It’s just that period now where we’re jumping into the unknown.
“I’ve been doing video analysis for Melbourne Victory for the past five years,” D’Antino added.
“I was looking for a change in everything, really. I just wanted to test myself at another organisation, learn from different people, experience a different culture and I wanted to move into coaching.
“Once we talked about it and I had spoken about it with my wife, we looked at it and thought this is an opportunity I don’t think I can knock back.
“It’s a coaching role first and foremost, I’m on the park every day and it’s a massive club.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and there are no guarantees something like this would pop up again, particularly at a club like that.
“When this popped up, we both acknowledged that we don’t know when this (chance) will pop up again.”
“The family won’t be making the permanent move over there until January — I’m hoping there’s a trip in between that period of time and then they’ll come over once just to get a feel for it,” he continued.
“At the moment, my goal is to get as high as I can from an assistant perspective but I’ve got no doubt that eventually, the itch will get me to take my own team, somewhere at the elite level, regardless of if it’s women’s or men’s or an under-23 or youth level.
“Long term, I’d love to come back to Australia.”
D’Antino also posted a message on his Instagram account (that won’t let me embed the post for some reason). He said, “Although most people already know and now that I’ve finally had time to lit [sic] it sink in, I’m extremely honoured and proud to announce that I’ve been appointed Arsenal F.C. Senior Women’s First Team Assistant Coach for season 2018/19.
“I simply cannot thank everyone enough for the overwhelming amount of kind words and messages of support I received over the past couple of weeks.
“It’s certainly been a crazy journey to get to this point, none of it would have been possible if it wasn’t for the amazing support of family and friends I have around me and I’m super excited for the challenge and journey that lies ahead.
“An extra special thank you must go out to my incredibly beautiful and extremely supportive wife and son, who motivate me every day, to be the best I can be. I love you guys all the way to the moon and back and miss you even more.
“THANK YOU again to everyone and bring on season 18/19.”