The Northern Inland region is about to gain an injection of football (soccer) expertise, with highly qualified Scottish football coach, Martin Rae, joining the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS).

Chair of the NIAS Board, Chris Ash, said he is delighted to announce that after 12 months of strenuous negotiation and navigating immigration, Martin Rae has arrived in Tamworth from Scotland and will begin his three year tenure as Technical Director of NIAS FC, with NIAS his sponsor for the 494 Visa.

“In 2021, NIAS invested in an extensive recruitment campaign for a Technical Director for NIAS FC – which is a mandatory requirement of all football clubs part of the Northern NSW Football competition.

“This campaign produced highly qualified candidates but Martin was a standout with more than 30 years of football experience playing and coaching all ages, including at the professional Scottish football club Ross County Football Club.

“NIAS appointed Martin in early 2022 and then underwent 12 months navigating immigration requirements, which included investing in engaging an Immigration Agent to assist. NIAS invested significant time, money and energy into securing the person we knew could provide the most opportunities for our region and optimise the potential and capabilities of our athletes and coaches.

“This is the beginning of a great chapter of football in our region – on and off the field,” Mr Ash said. 

Martin brings a wealth of coaching experience and qualifications – holding the top qualification for coaching children in Scotland, as well as a Scottish Football Association Coach Education Tutor. He is also in final completion of the Union of European Football Associations ‘A’ Licence and Goalkeeping ‘B’ Licence qualifications.

NIAS CEO, Shona Eichorn, said she is absolutely thrilled that Martin and his family have now obtained their Australian Visas and arrived in Tamworth ready to hit the ground running.

“We welcome Martin, his wife Marion, and children Lewis and Mirrim to the NIAS family and the Northern Inland community,” Mrs Eichorn said. “We are delighted that our region’s passionate football community will now begin reaping the benefits of this challenging time.”

“At NIAS, we have played the long game and worked tirelessly to ensure football opportunities continued while we didn’t have a Technical Director. As a small, resourced stretched team, we are so indebted to NIAS Sports Programs Manager, Richard Willis, who did a tremendous job taking on a      huge amount of additional responsibilities to ensure operations ran smoothly until Martin arrived.

“Martin will be a tremendous asset to add to our small yet dynamic NIAS staff, and will assume many of the tasks currently undertaken by Richard including Coach of the NIAS FC Under 15s PYL team.

“In his role as Technical Director, Martin will focus on NIAS FC coaches and athletes, but also travel the region to connect with the wider football community – consulting with clubs, schools and councils to help facilitate and foster the growth and development of football across the whole region, for both boys and girls. What a wonderful resource that will be for the Northern Inland community!”  

“Martin will also lead the development of our Coaches, across NIAS FC to ensure we have a positive club coaching culture which supports a diverse range of coaches with mentorship, best practice advice, appropriate resources and development opportunities. We will also be utilizing his extensive expertise and experience across our other NIAS programs.”

“A new opportunity has arrived for football in the Northern Inland region, and we are grateful for the continued support of NNSWF during the challenging recruitment process which enabled this to happen.”