Brisbane Roar announce General Manager appointments of Matt Smith, Ante Kovacevic and Rizka Laya

Brisbane Roar is pleased to announce Matt Smith and Ante Kovacevic have joined Brisbane Roar Football Club as General Managers.  

The Club has also appointed long-serving employee Rizka Laya as General Manager – Club Services. 

The appointments highlight Brisbane Roar’s commitment to adding senior executive resources to develop both the Club’s football and administration departments. 

Smith will oversee marketing, communications, and membership activities in his role as General Manager – Commercial. 

While the former Brisbane Roar captain is known for playing 112 games for the Club, including winning three Isuzu Ute A-League Championships, Smith also has a strong background in marketing holding a Bachelor’s in Marketing and Leisure Management from the University of Gloucestershire. 

He also holds a Master’s in Sport Management from Hartpury University.

He also has an extensive football development pedigree from his roles as Football Director, NPL Technical Director and First Team Head Coach at Brisbane City for the past three years. 

Smith said he is excited to be back with the Brisbane Roar as the Club restructures. 

“I was extremely privileged to be part of the Club’s amazing successes in the past and look forward to creating history in the future,” he said.

“Since I left the Club in 2014, I’ve always been keeping a close eye on the team and how they’ve been playing as well as the club and its progress. 

“I’m excited to play a key role in trying to continue to build the Club and I’m looking forward to working with the staff and different communities involved with Brisbane Roar. 

“When I was a player, the culture and environment at the Club was one of inclusiveness and good people, so I think a key role is to form an environment and culture people are proud to be associated with. 

“The internal and external stakeholders are pushing for one goal and I’m very confident that with the restructure the Club has started to initiate that there are good times ahead.” 

Kovacevic’s appointment to General Manager will see him bring a wealth of experience and expertise to Brisbane Roar. 

Joining the Club from Western United Football Club, where he was the General Manager of Football, Kovacevic has also overseen Football Operations at Perth Glory (2009-2015) and was the General Manager of Football at Adelaide United (2015-2019). 

While at Adelaide, Kovacevic was part of their A-League Championship in 2015/16 as well as the Australia Cup in 2018 and 2019. 

During his playing career, Kovacevic enjoyed spells at National Soccer League teams Melbourne Knights, Adelaide City FC, and South Melbourne FC. The introduction of the A-League in 2005 saw Kovacevic sign with Perth Glory, where he made 32 appearances. 

On his appointment, Kovacevic said he was excited to have joined Brisbane Roar. 

“I am excited to have joined Brisbane Roar, a club that has proven it can be successful on and off the field. This is where we want to see it headed in the near future” Kovacevic said. 

It’s been a successful season for the Brisbane Roar Academy as the U18 and U15 Boys teams finished top of their divisions while the U23 team reached the National Premier Leagues Queensland U23 Grand Final. 

The addition of Kovacevic will review all football systems at the Club to build and improve upon what is currently in place while ensuring all areas of the football department continue to operate effectively.  

“Queensland has a great number of footballers playing the game and has always managed to produce quality footballers for the NPL, A-Leagues and National teams. We want to continue to ensure the Brisbane Roar is an integral part to this development system and work together with all football stakeholders,” Kovacevic said. 

Laya has been a familiar face at Brisbane Roar for almost a decade, and her appointment to a General Manager role will continue to strengthen the Club’s administrative and club services. 

As the Club’s longest serving employee, she will continue to manage game operations and back-office administrative services that support the Club’s operation and governance systems, providing important support across the football department. 

Laya said she is looking forward to the opportunity to take on this new challenge. 

“I am grateful that the club noticed my efforts after working hard over the years. This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to taking on the responsibilities and making the most of it,” she said.