New Toronto Awaba Stags coach Darrel McAllister sees bright future for soccer club

NEW MENTOR: Darrel McAllister is pictured at the Toronto Awaba Stags' home ground, Lyall Peacock Field, in Toronto. The Stags will host South Cardiff this Sunday. Picture: David Stewart
NEW MENTOR: Darrel McAllister is pictured at the Toronto Awaba Stags' home ground, Lyall Peacock Field, in Toronto. The Stags will host South Cardiff this Sunday. Picture: David Stewart

NEW Stags coach Darrel McAllister believes the only way is up for Toronto Awaba Football Club.

And it's not a reference to Toronto Awaba having collected the wooden spoon in last season's New-FM Northern League One premiership.

The coach sees exciting potential on and off the park.

McAllister did his homework before agreeing to terms in a one-year deal to mentor the Stags, and he liked what he saw.

"This club has been strong in the past, it has good facilities, the area is good, and it has a big drawing area (for players)," McAllister said.

"I hope to get it back to being a competitive side and, one day, even back into the (Northern NSW) NPL.

"When you've got good foundations in a club, you've got hope."

McAllister comes to Toronto having spent last year as assistant coach of Maitland in the NPL.

He'd spent the previous eight seasons in head coaching roles.

INSTRUCTION: Darrel McAllister addresses his squad at the start of a training session at Lyall Peacock Field. Picture: David Stewart

INSTRUCTION: Darrel McAllister addresses his squad at the start of a training session at Lyall Peacock Field. Picture: David Stewart

McAllister said accepting the Stags gig came down to one thing.

"Running my own show again appealed to me," he smiled.

The new boss wasted little time in ringing the changes at Lyall Peacock Field.

"We've had to recruit a fair few players and we've made some key signings," he said.

Among them is the coach's son, Nathan McAllister, an attacking midfielder who played at South Cardiff last season.

Nathan made an instant impression in Toronto Awaba's first premiership game on Sunday, scoring a goal to put his team ahead 2-1 against Singleton.

Also among the new recruits is defender Kris Cook and forward Jarrod Purcell, a local. Both recruits had been playing with Charlestown in the NPL.

"Most of the players I've brought in are used to winning, and they are players who want to play semi-finals. If you miss out on the Top 4 and you're not disappointed, then there's something wrong," McAllister said.

The Stags would play a high-tempo style of football with plenty of ball movement, he said.

In his last coaching stint in the New-FM Northern League One premiership, McAllister was at the helm of Thornton.

"The year before, Thornton had picked up the wooden spoon, as well, and we turned them into a Top 4 team," he said.

"We've done it before, so there's no reason why we can't do it again."

COP THAT: Nathan McAllister celebrates after booting home the goal that gave Toronto Awaba a 2-1 lead on Sunday. Picture: David Stewart

COP THAT: Nathan McAllister celebrates after booting home the goal that gave Toronto Awaba a 2-1 lead on Sunday. Picture: David Stewart

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