Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 28 February 2023
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC is pleased to announce Valerio Raccuglia as the coach of our U-23 men's team for the 2023 season.
Raccuglia has extensive experience coaching in Oceania, including with Miramar Rangers, Wellington Phoenix, Bay Olympic and North Shore United, as well as the New Zealand U-20 and U-23 teams.
He was also recruited by the Oceania Football Confederation to coach in Samoa, spending two years living and working there with his family where he coached the U-19 men’s and women’s national teams.
Raccuglia takes over the U-23 head coach position from Kris Bright who led the team to back-to-back Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division titles in 2021 and 2022.
Bright's assistant coach last season, Paul Drake, has also stepped aside with Raccuglia and the club yet to appoint a replacement.
Raccuglia said: "It feels special to be at Auckland City FC. The club has set the benchmark for football in New Zealand and I'm excited to get started.
"My objective is to help the young players be seen by Albert Riera and the first team coaching staff and continue the flow of players into the top team."
Born and raised in Turin, Italy, Raccuglia left his homeland at 18 and has lived abroad ever since racking up an impressive list of exciting football missions along the way.
"Football is a religion in Italy and besides playing as a young man I used to go to the stadiums on Sundays all the time. If we didn't make it to the game, we listened on a small radio to follow the match.
"I've had a very broad experience in many different roles and all of them have allowed me to grow as a person and a coach. I loved being in Samoa, for example, it was very different but it has so much potential.
"The FIFA U-20 World Cup was something special as well, I love to experience the unknown and I've always been curious about what is behind the next corner.
"My time at the Wellington Phoenix was also a good experience and I enjoyed working with Ernie Merrick, Des Buckingham, Chris Greenacre and Andy Hedge.
"It was an eyeopener for me at the time but an excellent learning environment," he said.
Auckland City FC's U-23 team has been a useful platform for the promotion of young talent to the men's first team and beyond with Adam Bell, Kristoff Muller, Matt Ellis, Will Eng, Brooklyn Heath and Ilham Hameedi just a handful of names to make the breakthrough.
As Raccuglia sees it, the hard work starts now.
"We're still looking for an assistant coach and I am talking with a couple of people who are interested so I hope to put a name to the role very soon.
"One of my key values is that no matter the situation I always want to add value and make a difference, a contribution, no matter how small," he said.
Name: Valerio Raccuglia
Born: Turin, Italy
Danish football (Various)
Wellington Phoenix - 2014-17 (Head coach Academy)
Wellington Phoenix - 2014-17 (A League Analyst)
Miramar Rangers - (Head Coach 2012-2014)
Oceania Football Confederation (2017-2019)
Samoa U-19 - (Head coach men's and women's head coach 2017-2019)
New Zealand Football - (FIFA U-20 World Cup)
Bay Olympic - (Director Football 2019-21)
North Shore United - (Head coach 2022)
Sunday 1 October 2023, 4pm, Kiwitea Street, Auckland