The rise of Ramsin Shamon


Born in Iran, Shamon migrated to Australia in 1974 with his family and the 40 year-old ? who celebrates his 41st birthday in less than 3 weeks ? has now raised a family of his own that includes ?three gorgeous kids: two boys and a little girl?.
Having enjoyed his junior footballing years across a variety of club-scenes in representative football, the youthful coach has gone on to complete qualifications that will allow him to coach at the highest level of football in Australia. Make no mistake about it though, these qualifications aren?t just going to be framed as part of Shamon?s living room decorations.
Having just been confirmed as the first-team coach of the West Sydney Berries for the remainder of the season, the Iranian-born Shamon plans to make the most of his opportunities. This ambitious young man is looking to take his coaching career all the way to the international stage and judging by his poise, manner and knowledge of the game, his might be a name to look out for in the future.
But for the moment, Shamon faces a task that would rival even the most arduous of World Cup Qualification schedules. Sitting perilously at the bottom of the overall Championship table, the recently promoted West Sydney Berries face the threat of relegation from the Telechoice Premier League in their comeback season.
Ramsin Shamon arrives at the helm of the Berries at perhaps the most crucial stage in the club?s recent history. The remaining 8 matches will determine the future of a proud football club with a long, rich tradition and the newly-appointed Shamon will be feeling both pressured and privileged to be apart of it.
Having guided the side to a hard-earned 1-1 draw with Penrith on his debut as first-team coach on the weekend, Shamon prepares his Berries side for another crucial home encounter against Sydney United on Sunday.
Football NSW meets for only the second time, a man who is scaling new heights in Australian football, as he prepares for the most important challenge of his football life.
FNSW: Ramsin, this is obviously a crucial time for the West Sydney Berries Football Club. What role do you envisage yourself playing for the remainder of the campaign? Is there a future for you at the club beyond the end of this season?
RS: The board at the West Sydney Berries approached me and said that if I did a good job in the next 8 or 9 games, I?d get a contract offer for 2009. I?ve got the respect of the boys and I respect them as well and they?ve seen how I work, so everyone knows that I can do a quality job.
I?ve got a board that is very active, I?ve got a president [Peter Mitrothanasis] who comes to every training session, to every game and doesn?t miss a beat, who knows what is going on and knows what I can do. The team will make me look good if they do the business in the next 8 weeks.
FNSW: From a personal perspective, is this a learning curve for you as a coach at the top level? How do you foresee your role form a personal perspective?
RS: I spent a lot of time doing my coaching education; I spent over 3 weeks with six or seven current and ex-Socceroos. I see myself developing as a senior coach in my own right. I?d like to grow up really quickly in the next 8 or 9 months but I have spent a good few years learning the ropes of being the first grade coach whilst I was an assistant. I was as important as the first grade coach but with the way things are, you don?t always get the accolades, but I helped hand-pick this team in August last year.
I was heavily involved with interviewing players, all the pre-contracting work and recruiting at a personal level with the players we?ve got. Basically, I think I?ve got an eye to pick out some class players and the team that we have got – in the last 12 weeks – really put a lot of well-established teams to the sword, like the Marconis and Sydney Olympics.
The next 8 or 9 weeks is going to really tell what I can do with this team and I haven?t just got this job because I?ve walked into it. There?s a lot of self-belief in this team, this team is well-balanced and it was chosen in this way and the team we have in my eyes has the potential to be in the top 2 or 3 of this league.
FNSW: There have been moments this season where the Berries have lived up to their undoubted potential but there have also obviously been some very disappointing for them moments from a football perspective. Given the position of the club on the overall Championship table, is the main goal for the rest of the season to avoid relegation? Is a top 5 position too far out of the question?
RS: No it isn?t. I put the challenge to the boys when I first got the job, to show some character and some belief in themselves. Maybe I?m a bit optimistic about it but we do have belief in ourselves.
Although the scores haven?t gone our way, we?ve dominated the clubs that are in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions on the table and there is no reason – if we show the right discipline and hunger ? we can?t finish on at least 39 points. As I tell the boys, we?ve got one point at the start of every game and it is up to us to lose it.
Sometimes the way things pan out – football being football – results go either way. You could be playing the best and still lose but I think we?ve learnt in the first rounds that we need to be more disciplined at certain times, and in the session we had tonight and after the game yesterday we talked about that, we talked about the need for discipline during the game.
It is not always about how you play individually but about how we play as a team. To be honest though, we haven?t had the preferred starting X1 since the end of round 2 this year. We?ve had key players that have been out or that have been injured or playing with niggles, with whom we?d have been 3 or 4 positions higher up in this league.
FNSW: How?s the relationship with the players going? Is there a respect present between players and management?
RS: I get on with them, you try to be a good friend, as a coach you need to be a person to speak with them, to tell them to try this or that and slightly adjust themselves in the way they play in order to be become a better player.
It is a bit hard sometimes when you are looking after seniors, to teach someone or coach someone at the higher level when they think they are already there. I think that if you are playing football, every session, every game that you play, if you are not learning something, you?re not going to become a better player and that makes the difference between the classy players of the world; they look to learn something every time they get out.
FNSW: In terms of your playing philosophy, are you going to emphasize an attacking brand of football at the Berries, or is their a need to solidify the side defensively? Where are the areas that you see will need the most work for the remainder of the season?
RS: I?m probably one of the few coaches that takes videos, that takes still and screen shots of the Berries matches, to show the players how they are playing.
I encourage them to go up and attack as much as possible. I?m not a defensive type of person. One of the first things I tell them at the start of every game is to defend high up the park, to play free-flowing, attack-minded football that allows the players to express themselves with the ball. We?re going for attacking football, as we?ve done since we started our pre-season back in September.
FNSW: How important will the involvement of club legend Spiro Hantzis be now that he is part of the coaching staff? How are you two working together?
RS: I?ve heard that he?s played over 600 games for the club. It is very hard to find someone like that, other than my captain Archie [Kotsopoulos], who has been at the club for 16 years.
This club breeds success. Spiro and I are complementing each other right now, everything?s going well. We?re bumping ideas off each other. Obviously he?s been at the club for a while and why not have him? The more heads to help out, the better.
FNSW: Ramsin, thanks for your time and good luck with the rest of the season.
RS: Cheers.
– Interview by Chris Paraskevas