Rookie coach Hutchinson joins Postecoglou’s Japanese master class

Former Mariners assistant coach John Hutchinson and Yokohama F. Marinos coach Ange Postecoglou. Source: Getty Images

Central Coast Mariners legend John Hutchinson will replace compatriot Arthur Papas at Yokohama F. Marinos next season, as Ange Postecoglou offers another Australian inductee the chance to study at his own personal finishing school for up-and-coming coaches.

Before Papas ascended as a head coach in his own right with J3 Kagoshima United earlier this month, another Ange alumni, Peter Cklamovski, left for an ill-fated spell as the boss at Shimizu S.Pulse.

Now Hutchinson - after riding shotgun to Mark Rudan at Western United and a second spell on the coaching staff at MLS powerhouse Seattle Sounders - gets his chance to immerse himself in Postecoglou’s scriptures and absorb his attacking incantations.

Hutchinson, 41, announced on social media at the beginning of the month he wouldn’t be returning to Seattle, with the club’s 3-0 MLS Cup Final loss to Columbus Crew last month marking an end point.

But a new beginning beckons, with a Yokohama F. Marinos official confirming on Thursday that the former Mariners skipper would be in situ in Japan in time for the commencement of pre-season training in 10 days time.

Hutchinson wrote on his Twitter account that he was “excited and privileged” to be joining the club, adding, “Pre-season can’t start quick enough and I look forward to working hard with the great staff already assembled.” 

With ambitions to become a head coach in the coming years, Hutchinson - who made 228 appearances in a decade with the Mariners - will be a willing student eager to absorb every utterance of wisdom that passes the lips of the 2019 J1 title-winner.

Postecoglou’s legacy in Japan is already assured after that feat, even if his fallibility was evident last season as The Marinos finished ninth - 36 points adrift of champions Kawasaki Frontale - and fell short in the AFC Champions League.

Hutchinson, though, will be receiving dissertations from a scholar in the art of elan and adventure which might ultimately see him find his own niche as a number one in the future.

With former Socceroos coach Postecoglou last month signing a contract extension until January 2022, the Marinos begin the new season against champions Kawasaki on February 26.