2021 Brisbane Roar Academy coaching structure confirmed


Brisbane Roar Academy is pleased to confirm its coaching structure for the 2021 season.

The 2020 season was a hugely successful season with a number of teams winning their respective competitions, with an incredible cohort of players earning opportunities in higher age-groups, all the way up to the Club’s A-League squad.

Take a look below at who will be leading our respective squads in 2021.

Young Roar – Chris Grossman
Former Brisbane Roar A-League player Chris Grossman will once again lead our Young Roar in 2021 after taking the reins throughout the last two campaigns.

Chris has been at Brisbane Roar in a coaching capacity for a number of years, progressing through the ranks, showing his qualities as a coach and an educator of young talent. He has a high work rate, hunger & desire to improve his players.


U23 – Owen Baker
One of the new members to the Academy coaching ranks, Owen Baker joins the club with an impressive resume under his belt. Owen joins after a successful eight-year stint with NPL QLD squad Brisbane Strikers, following a further five years coaching junior teams.

He guided Strikers to the FFA Cup Semi-Final in 2019 and has previously coached successful Queensland squads at National Championships level.

U18 – Graham Fyfe
Returning U18 coach Graham Fyfe is well known in Queensland circles for his exploits as one of the best players in the local league over a number of years. He has an unbelievably positive outlook on life and great passion for pushing players on to the next level.

He is an experienced coach at both senior and junior levels, as well as previous experience as Redlands United Technical Director.

U16 – Jordan Leatherdale
Originally from the UK, Jordan Leatherdale started his coaching journey at Chelsea, working with the club’s community and academy feeder programs.

With experience as a Technical Director at Virginia United, Jordan has also coached as part of Football Brisbane and Football Queensland representative teams before joining the Roar Academy in late 2019.

He believes that instilling the ability to make good decisions under pressure is key. He enjoys empowering his players to play with attacking freedom, couple with an aggressive mindset to win the ball back quickly.

U15 – Francesco Zanoncelli
Francesco Zanoncelli is not only someone who has played at the very highest level with AC Milan and various other Serie A clubs, but someone that moved to Australia a decade ago and has fallen in love with Queensland as his home state.

Francesco’s work ethic and passion are massively important, but is a key reinforcer of humbleness – a key characteristic that we strive to see in our Academy coaches and players.

U14 – Paul Wilton
Paul Wilton has a great track record of working with the best kids in the state in this age group through Queensland state programs and is someone who demands the very best of his players. Another passionate coach keen on developing Queensland talent, our U14 playing group is in good hands.

Paul has a great way with the teams he coaches, and he knows where to progress them in this age group and where they need to be when they move on to the age group above. He holds himself and his team to high standards which align perfectly with what we are doing at the Brisbane Roar Academy.

U13 – Luca Balestrazzi
Luca Balestrazzi will take on the role as U13 Head Coach alongside Academy Operations Manager. He has both playing and coaching experiences in Italy before moving to Australia in 2013, firstly in Sydney before moving north to Brisbane in 2018.

Luca has previous experience covering both coaching and management roles at Brisbane City FC, working on-field within SAP & NPL programs and winning back-to-back U18 & U20 premierships with City.

In 2020, he worked closely alongside Young Roar Head Coach Chris Grossman and will continue that role in 2021.

Luca is passionate and eager to get the best out of both his squad and the Academy as a whole, and build the foundations to expand the Academy across Queensland.


Goalkeeping Coach – Dean May
In his previous role as the FFA National Goalkeeper Development Manager, Dean May was tasked with developing a pool of high‐level Australian Goalkeeper coaches by further developing and delivering a world‐class program of goalkeeper coaching courses for coaches of elite and talented goalkeepers whilst facilitating the development of community coaches.

Although Goalkeeping is his main focus, Dean was an active member of the FFA Coach education team conducting C and B-licence courses. He is also an active member of the AFC elite goalkeeper instructors and has previoulst completed courses in India, Singapore, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan for AFC.

As well as National GK duties with Football Federation Australia, Dean has had roles as National Goalkeeper coach for the Guam Women’s team and the Bangladesh Men’s senior and U23 squads

Strength and Conditioning Coach – Jordan Manning
Jordan Manning is an established member of the Brisbane Roar Academy after being identified for his work at former NPL QLD club Western Pride.

He has led successful Academy squads as well as leading players who have gone on to represent Australia at underage levels.

Jordan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sport Science and has attained his AFC B Licence. A hard-working team member always looking to learn, Jordan is currently studying a Masters of Sports Coaching at the University of Queensland and is looking forward to further development opportunities to come.