Coolen loving Adelaide

Adelaide United’s Dutch coach Rini Coolen is loving life in the City of Churches and can’t wait for his family to arrive in Adelaide in the coming weeks.

Adelaide United’s Dutch coach Rini Coolen is loving life in the City of Churches and can’t wait for his family to arrive in Adelaide in the coming weeks.

Worlds away from his birthplace of Arnhem in the Netherlands’ east, Coolen loves that everything in Adelaide is 15 minutes away, the streets are big and admitted he is learning and seeing more about the city every day.

“It is wonderful here. Every day I see more of Adelaide,” he says with a smile.

“It’s so nice, the streets are so wide and everything is 15 minutes away, the beach to the hills. I’m really looking forward to in a couple of weeks my family will be here and I can show them everything.”

When Coolen was unveiled as the Reds’ new coach in the first week of July after Aurelio Vidmar won the Socceroos assistant role, you could be forgiven for asking, “who?”

But the 43-year-old arrived with an impressive CV after initially flirting with the idea of coaching in the Hyundai A-League four years earlier when Pierre Littbarski left Sydney FC.

“I was one of the candidates as a manager. It was new for me, I was young, my family was young and my children were young and we were not ready to go,” he said.

“Littbarski I think it was at the moment, the coach. He did well but he was leaving the club so they were looking for another coach.”

Coolen coached FC Twente between 2004 and 2006, after spending five years as an assistant, and led the young and inexperienced squad to sixth in the Dutch Eredivisie in his first year in charge.

He also undertook practical periods under the likes of Guus Hiddink at PSV, Gerard Houllier at Liverpool and Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona.

Coolen arrived in Adelaide only three weeks before the beginning of the Hyundai A-League season on the back of a successful stint with RBC Roosendaal in the Dutch 1st Division where he has coached for the past two years.

As a player, Coolen, a defender, made his debut in 1985 with and Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Eredivisie where he spent three seasons before moving onto Heracles Almelo, playing 149 games.

He finished his career with AZ Alkmaar in 1996 before returning to Heracles to take up a role as an assistant coach.

The Dutchman’s start to his debut Hyundai A-League campaign has been ravaged by injury as the Reds’ battle without the likes of captain, Travis Dodd, Fabian Barbiero and Robert Cornthwaite, who are all sidelined with injury.

Coolen acknowledges the injury factor but said despite all this, he feels positive about his start so far and is upbeat about the future.

“I feel real positive and happy here. I work with good people, a good squad, of course we have some problems with injured players, but I’m looking forward to the future and it will get better and better after a few weeks,” he said.

Coolen admitted he preferred to observe during the first few weeks of his tenure but believes every day his job is getting easier and his influence is beginning to show.

“I think we’ll make some big steps. In the first weeks I was just watching the team, the squad and how we can change things and how we can work together,” he said.

“Now, I’m looking more and more around the squad and how everybody works. For me it’s getting much easier every day and I’m feeling real positive.”

“To get better and better takes a lot of time but I feel it is working and the players they want it that way. They want to know everything and train hard but you can’t change in a couple of days or a couple of weeks.”

The Reds’ boss stated at the very least United must make the finals and after two games in, highlighted the opening half against the Central Coast Mariners is an early benchmark.

“One of our goals is to make the finals,” he said.

“To make the top six is the least of what we have to do. What I am working on is playing how we did against Central Coast in the first 45 minutes. There, we played much better football and it was what we are working on most days of the week.”

After two rounds Coolen said the Hyundai A-League’s standard is high but believes the domestic competition can improve technically, and tactically.

He said the transition between defence and attack should be less gung-ho, but more measured, controlled and keeping possession going forward.

“The level is not so bad, only we can change some things in the technical and tactical sense,” he said.

“Especially in moments of transition, there is a lot of speed in the game. I think it’s good to try and find out if we can change that. There would be more control in the game, you’d get a lot of chances and try not to make a lot of individual mistakes that are not necessary.”