John Kosmina joins The Pitch Podcast!

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On the 20th anniversary of Adelaide United’s first game, then coach John Kosmina has reflected fondly on the tumultuous period that saw the club created and the culture that he sees continuing on at Hindmarsh.

Founded in 2003 at short notice following the withdrawal of South Australia’s other National Soccer League representatives, Adelaide United was known as “the People’s Team” and represented a unification of the sport in the state.

Speaking to Jarrod Walsh on The Pitch Podcast, Kosmina was proud of the local flavour in his inaugural squad and that the club had maintained its commitment to young South Australian talent.

“I took the bones of the Adelaide City squad,” Kosmina explained. “I remember sitting up in, I can’t remember which room it was now, but we sat up in one of the spaces in Hindmarsh in the stadium, and I spoke to the Adelaide City guys and said basically, I’m not going to go looking for players. I think you guys are decent enough.

“If you’re interested in staying on, let me know. And it worked out right.

“We had enough there to build something good, enough quality – guys that had the right idea about how football should be played and guys with the right mentality as well.

“And that’s what was important. The culture already sort of currently existed. I think they probably needed a change because of the way things had been run at Adelaide City in recent history, but it was something new and fresh and our players all bought into it and it worked out.”

Kosmina’s side ran a wave of momentum and excitement to play in a preliminary final in its first season, being outclassed by eventual premiers Perth Glory.

A local himself, Kosmina saw value in the “us against them” mentality created by his core group of South Australians, and he sees the same in the current crop, which is about to kick-off the 2023 Isuzu UTE A-League season against the Central Coast on Friday night.

“It gets back to the standards that were set and the values that were in the culture that was instilled right over very beginning, and you’ve got to maintain that connection (to the community),” he said.

“And yes, you’ve got to evolve, it can’t always be a connection or a culture based in nostalgia, you’ve got to progress and move with the times as well.

“But your underlying principles and values are still the same as they were 20 years ago. And that’s you connect with the community here.

“With that in mind, I think that’s why Adelaide has been successful. Because, you know, they’ve been upfront, and they made that connection, and they’ve developed local kids, it has  worked and it’s great to see a lot of (local) kids in the team now.”

Kosmina has returned to living in Queensland but has been in Adelaide to help launch the club’s 20th Anniversary Documentary The People’s Club, in which he featured.

The Documentary, to be launched on Tuesday night on the club’s Youtube channel, was created by film maker Ben Coonan and features interviews with people central to the club’s journey, using archive vision and still images to celebrate two decades of a proud club.

While he no longer lives in Adelaide, Kosmina maintains his own family ties to Adelaide United with his son Nathan Kosmina now the CEO.

The former coach also takes pride in seeing inaugural squad member and goal scorer Carl Veart coaching the side, and seeing the sons of former players like Ethan Alagich (son of Richie) and Bernardo (son of Cassio) now representing the club on-field.

“You’ve got succession,” Kosmina said considering a question of whether he could have envisaged those links occurring 20 years ago. “You know, not just with players but we’ve all these players moving into coaching.

“You’ve got sons of former greats, you know Richie Alagich is still involved in the game at a lot, not at club level but Federation level working with youth.

“It’s great to see all of that, but now if you ask me I wouldn’t have thought about this 20 years ago, it wouldn’t even occur to me because half the time I fly by the seat of my pants.”

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