MANILA -- Mark Torcaso, who steered Western United to the finals of the A-League in their inaugural season, is now the head coach of the Philippine women's national football team.
The Philippine Football Federation announced the development on Wednesday.
Torcaso, 42, will replace Alen Stajcic, who led the Filipinas to their first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup appearance last month where they defeated New Zealand in the group stage.
"We welcome coach Mark (Torcaso) and his staff to the PFF family," PFF President Mariano "Nonong" Araneta said in a statement. "We are confident that they will continue raising the standards of the Philippine Women’s National Team on all aspects and take the team to greater heights on the back of a historic and memorable 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand."
Torcaso is the reigning A-League Women's Coach of the Year following an impressive campaign wherein Western United reached the final, where they lost to Sydney FC, 4-0. Among his players in Western United are Filipinas defender Angie Beard and midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki.
"[I feel] incredibly privileged to accept this position with the Philippines and I am very thankful to the PFF particularly to team manager Jefferson Cheng for making it happen," said Torcaso.
"Watching the development of the team over the last couple of years has been amazing, from the AFF Championship to the World Cup, and I feel honored to be able to try to continue this growth," he added.
Joining Torcaso in his coaching staff are Sinisha Cohadzic and former New Zealand international Andrew Durante. Cohadzic will also serve as head coach of the girls’ Under-17 and women’s Under-20 national teams.
"I am excited to take on this opportunity and I can’t wait to meet the players and the other staff in camp next week. I look forward to the challenge alongside Sinisha (Cohadzic) and Andrew (Durante)," said Torcaso.
The Australian coach's first major challenge will be the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September, followed by the AFC Olympic Qualifiers in Perth, Australia in October.
Cohadzic will handle the girls’ Under-17 in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Tournament in Vietnam next month.
"It is important that we continue the momentum from the Filipinas’ historic FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in New Zealand," PFF secretary-general Atty. Ed Gastanes said.
"We have a motivated and accomplished coach in Mark Torcaso together with his staff, ready to lead our women’s teams in upcoming competitions."