Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has put his support behind moves for a national second division and insists another professional league in Australia “can’t come quick enough”.
Earlier this week, the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) released their multi-year blueprint for the development of a second division, outlining the ins and outs of establishing the competition.
The plans outlined possible promotion and relegation with the A-League, cost structures of the league, as well as the possibility of a women’s second division.
Former Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners coach Arnold believes if the competition was to be established it would go a long way in the development of young Australian players.
"It's great to see that document, it's great to hear people talking about the proposal of a second division. For me that can't come quick enough for the development of pathways of Australian football," he said.
"When that happens we will see the new golden generation. I do believe that.
“We will see all these kids having much more opportunities. Since 2005 the opportunities for kids have been limited.”
However, the national team boss insisted that any potential second division should aim to be a professional competition with similar resourcing to clubs in the A-League.
"I would rather see a professional league like the A-League is today. If we are going to put the league together as semi-professional, the travel side would become an issue," he said.
"We want a professional environment, with the resources. We want every club to be able to have sports science staff as well as video analysts, as well as goalkeeper coaches, physios, assistant coaches, coaches, full-time, so they are working together to make the players stronger, fitter and better.
As well as a national second division, Arnold insists further expansion of the A-League should be a priority to provide extra matches as well as new pathways for players.
He said moves like this need to be made to enhance the domestic game while also building a solid platform for the growth of the national team.
"We have 11 professional clubs in Australia at the moment. Expansion will and needs to happen to give more opportunity," Arnold said.
"But to have another professional league would grow our game enormously. It is all good for domestic transfers, transfers overseas to bring more money back into the game, also for the national teams.
"The national team can only be strong as a team, as a nation, by the strength of the leagues below them."