Aurelio Vidmar has resigned from his post as Adelaide United coach to take up the dual role of coach of Australia's Olympic side and assistant to the new senior national team boss after the World Cup.
Vidmar, 43, said he left United with a heavy heart after his three years in charge, but that he didn't want to miss the opportunity to progress his coaching career with a view to eventually heading overseas or taking the Socceroos job. He will travel to South Africa to participate in Australia's World Cup campaign before officially starting as Australian name their new coach after the tournament.
Vidmar will replace Graham Arnold in the double role after the one-time Australia caretaker manager made a move in the other direction, taking up an A-League coaching job with the Central Coast Mariners. Vidmar worked as an assistant to Arnold at the Beijing Olympics, and he will now be tasked with taking Australia's next generation of talent to London 2012.
During his successful but trophy-less reign, Vidmar steered Adelaide to the A-League grand final in 2009 and the Asian Champions League final in 2008. He was named A-League Coach of the Year in 2008/09.
"Aurelio is a great young coach and a position like this is a fantastic stepping stone for him and it will give him the opportunity to aspire to the head coaching role down the track,'' said Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley. "He has shown with his excellent work with Adelaide United that he can manage a team on the international stage and get results.''
Vidmar represented Australia on 44 occasions from 1991 scoring 17 goals and captaining the Socceroos seven times. He played overseas in Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Japan, as well as playing for many years for Adelaide City and also was a member of the Olyroos at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
"It took me about a week to weigh up the pros and cons, but I thought the time was right, as the opportunity may never come again,'' said Vidmar. "I made the decision last Wednesday morning. I will be leaving on Tuesday for South Africa.''
Current Australia coach Pim Verbeek has already announced he will leave the Socceroos after the World Cup. Adelaide, who reached the last 16 of the Asian Champions League this season but finished at the foot of the A-League table, have appointed Phil Stubbins as coach on an interim basis.
"We have commenced our search for a new coach, it will be a worldwide search and we expect significant interest in the position,'' said Adelaide chief executive Sam Ciccarello.