Joe Ianni grew up on the Northern Beaches, and with an Italian background it was hard not be involved and passionate about football. He would watch football on SBS on Sunday mornings like many did, in particular the Serie A, as well as play in the back yard while trying to avoid the veggie patch, and discuss football regularly with family and friends.
“I would follow the special players that would light up the screen, that had that X-factor, from the likes of Maradona, Zidane, Baggio, Pirlo, and Ronaldo; but also the defensive players that would you could count on to the carry the team to allow these ball players to do their magic such as Baresi, Maldini, and Cannavaro. My family are avid supporters of both men’s and women’s football, in particular the Socceroos and Matildas, and with the Women’s World Cup in 2023 in our home backyard just around the corner, it has built up the excitement of the game even further and it is fantastic to see women’s football continue to grow in this country.”
Joe started playing football for Manly Vale in U11s, and then Brookvale for a year before joining Freshwater and Manly Dolphins reps for the remainder of his junior years, and he really enjoyed football during this time. He stopped for a while to concentrate on his career, but missed the game too much, and ended up playing for various clubs within MWFA, these days turning out for the O45s at Wakehurst.
His career did allow him at one point to be involved in some amazing experiences in football though, working alongside Brazilian journalists during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
“I was amazed to see these stars of the game and the intensity of how they trained and how this translated to the game performance. Prior to the World Cup though, I was observing Ronaldo go through routine shooting practice sessions and he was missing the target on most occasions. A young Kaka was out performing him, yet Ronaldo went on the win the Golden Boot and the World Cup. He was just one of those special players that had that X-factor.”
Joe started coaching his daughter at Wakehurst over 10 years ago, and has had the opportunity to coach through various junior age groups since.
“There is nothing better and more rewarding than seeing kids play and enjoy this great game. This is what football is about. I enjoy breaking some of the stereotypes in football, but most importantly, encouraging the kids to enjoy their football and have fun. It is fulfilling to be able to give back in some way, and in particularly see individuals and teams grow and improve year on year. Volunteers make the game viable at local clubs, they are the heart and soul of this game, and I am proud to be part it.”
Joe has attended both the Skill and Game Training courses with MWFA in recent years, along with several other workshops, and then followed these up with doing the FA C-Licence in 2020.
“I initially started doing the courses out of curiosity, and I have to say they have been brilliant. Not only do they help provide guidance and techniques on how to coach players in a more effective way and make the relationship between planned training sessions and actual game play a lot clearer, but they also challenged some of the embedded concepts and put me out of my comfort zone.”
In 2022, Joe had the opportunity to join the Future Coaches Program as well.
“It definitely asks questions, challenges convention and encourages us to strive to do better inside and outside of football. It has been a rewarding experience that I have enjoyed where I will continue to improve my ability as a coach to ensure players continue enjoy this game while improving the standard of football. There is always room to learn and grow no matter your age or level of expertise. I would like to continue my journey in football and give back to the game that has given me plenty.”
MWFA is looking forward to seeing Joe continue to grow, and hopefully develop some X-factor players for the future of Australian football.
Look out for more articles on other MWFA Future Coaches over the coming weeks.