Paul Okon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Paul Okon
Paul Okon managing Young Socceroos.jpg
Personal information
Full name Paul Michael Okon
Date of birth (1972-04-05) 5 April 1972 (age 47)
Place of birth Sydney, Australia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)
Playing position Defender / Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1991 Marconi Stallions 49 (4)
1991–1996 Club Brugge 72 (1)
1996–1999 Lazio 19 (0)
1999–2000 Fiorentina 11 (0)
2000–2002 Middlesbrough 28 (0)
2002Watford (loan) 15 (0)
2002–2003 Leeds United 15 (0)
2003–2004 Vicenza 28 (2)
2004–2005 K.V. Oostende 33 (0)
2005–2006 APOEL 9 (0)
2006–2007 Newcastle Jets 17 (0)
Total 296 (9)
National team
1991 Australia U-20 4 (0)
1992 Australia U-23 3 (0)
1991–2003 Australia 28 (0)
Teams managed
2008–2009 APIA Leichhardt (Interim)
2009 Australia U-18
2009–2010 Gold Coast United (Assist.)
2012–2016 Australia U-20
2012–2016 Australia U-23 (Asst.)
2016–2018 Central Coast Mariners
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:47, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:30, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Paul Michael Okon (born 5 April 1972 in Sydney) is a former Australian football (soccer) player. He has Belgian citizenship.

He previously captained the Australian National Team and has represented Australia Olympic Football Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Okon's career began at Marconi Stallions in the old NSL in Australia, he then went on to play at many European clubs including S.S. Lazio and Fiorentina in Italy's Serie A, Vicenza Calcio in Serie B, Middlesbrough F.C. and Leeds United F.C. in the English Premiership, Club Brugge, K.V. Oostende in Belgium's Jupiler League and APOEL in the Cypriot First Division. Okon was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2009, for his services to football in Australia.[1] During his time in Belgium, Okon acquired citizenship of the country.

Club career[edit]

Okon grew up in a Sydney suburb of Bossley Park, he is of German and Italian descent. He represented his high school, Patrician Brothers' College, Fairfield during his time as a teenage schoolboy and featured prominently in all teams including the A Grade squad. However, his abilities did not stop at the football pitch, he set the record for high jump at the College's annual Athletics Carnival in the under 16s age group which was not broken until 2004.

Okon left Marconi Stallions in 1991 for Club Brugge, and due to a series of excellent performances at sweeper won the Belgian Golden Shoe (95/96), the Belgian Jupiler league (95/96) and two Belgian Cups (94/95 and 95/96); these performances captured the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs, and in 1996 Dino Zoff – then coach of Italian giants Lazio – flew out to Belgium to personally sign the Australian, stipulating in his contract that Okon would play sweeper and promising first team football. However, with the departure of Roberto Di Matteo to Chelsea – forcing him to play in midfield – and a succession of knee injuries (a problem caused by a misaligned pelvis, the result of a childhood car-crash) resulted in game-time being limited. While he did return for the 1999 Scudetto decider (playing in one of the final games of the season against Juventus, which Lazio lost, handing the title to A.C. Milan) that summer he departed the Roman club.

This began a turbulent chapter of Okon's career, with spells at Fiorentina, Middlesbrough, Leeds United and Vicenza before returning to the country where he made his name with Oostende in 2004. After a brief spell with APOEL in Cyprus, Okon returned to Australia.

He signed with A-League club Newcastle United Jets for the 2006–07 season.[2] Okon fit into a well-constructed Jets side and helped then make the play-offs in 2007. Due to injury concerns, Okon decided to retire from professional football in June 2007.[3] Okon played for amateur team West Ryde Rovers' over-35 Division 1 team in the GHFA.[4][5]

Managerial career[edit]

On 24 June 2008, along with Alex Tobin, Alistair Edwards and Nicola Williams, Okon was a recipient of an inaugural three-year scholarship under the Elite Coaching Development Program led by the FFA;[6] as part of the program, Okon spent time at Coverciano with the Italian U-23 side under Pierluigi Casiraghi in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games, and spent a stint studying the youth setup of PSV Eindhoven.[7]

On 2 September 2008 Okon was appointed assistant coach to Miron Bleiberg at Gold Coast United for their inaugural season.[8] Before taking up his new role he took up an interim coaching role at APIA Leichhardt for their 2009 NSW Premier League season.[9]

On 30 October 2008 Okon was appointed to lead the Australian U-18 side at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in the month of January, aimed as part of a long term view towards establishing the team for the 2012 Olympic Games.[10]

On 23 February 2010, Okon did not renew his contract with Gold Coast United, following the team's loss in the first round of the A-league finals. Since then he has gone away on tour with the Australian Olympic under 23 squad for a tournament in Vietnam where he was assistant coach to Aurelio Vidmar.

On 19 April 2012 it was announced he was appointed head coach of the Australia national under-20 football team and Assistant coach of the Australia Olympic football team.[11]

On 29 August 2016, Okon was appointed the new manager of the Central Coast Mariners, signing a two-year contact.[12] Okon replaced Tony Walmsley, who was sacked following Central Coast's FFA Cup elimination at the hands of National Premier Leagues Victoria team Green Gully SC.

In Okon's debut as Central Coast manager, the Mariners drew 3-3 with Perth Glory at Nib Stadium, after coming back from 3-0 down at half time.[13] Okon achieved his first win as Central Coast manager in his fifth game in charge: a 2-1 win over defending champions Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on 6 November 2016.[14]

On 20 March 2018 it was announced that Okon had resigned from his position as manager of the Central Coast Mariners.[15]

National team statistics[edit]


Australia national team
Year Apps Goals
1991 1 0
1992 0 0
1993 1 0
1994 1 0
1995 1 0
1996 1 0
1997 0 0
1998 0 0
1999 0 0
2000 11 0
2001 9 0
2002 0 0
2003 3 0
Total 28 0

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 6 May 2018[17]
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Central Coast Mariners Australia 29 August 2016 Present 51 10 13 28 019.61
Total 51 10 13 28 019.61



Club Brugge







  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Roach, Stewart (7 June 2006). "Easy come, easy go: Okon signs for Jets as captain Zelic quits". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ "Sad day as Okon hangs up his boots". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Gladesville Hornsby Football Association". GHFA. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5] Archived 29 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ [6] Archived 12 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ [7] Archived 29 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Aurelio Vidmar and Paul Okon to coach national youth sides - Football Australia 2013". Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Mariners appoint Paul Okon as Head Coach". A-League. Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Central Coast Mariners steal point in dramatic fightback against Perth Glory". ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  14. ^ Greco, John. "Pain stunner inspires Mariners to upset win over Reds". Central Coast Mariners FC. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  15. ^ Kemp, Emma (20 March 2018). "Paul Okon quits as Mariners boss after disappointing A-League campaign". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  16. ^ "Paul Okon". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  17. ^ "Paul Okon". ALeague Stats. Retrieved 12 January 2017.

External links[edit]