‘How do you fancy pink?’
That was the cheeky question posed by a trio of Illawarra veterans which helped open the door for the Stingrays to pull off one of their biggest ever signings.
It was 2015 and then Canadian international Carmelina Moscato had just stepped off the plane to link up with the Wanderers in the W-League.
She was greeted by Stingrays stalwarts Michelle Carney, Caitlin Cooper and Erica Halloway in Western Sydney and the trio were quick to sell her on a move to the Illawarra.
Unfortunately the chance to play with the Rays would never eventuate, but Moscato’s undeniable talent wouldn’t be lost to the Illawarra altogether.
In a sensational twist, the former defender was unveiled as the Stingrays new coaching director for the upcoming NSW Women’s National Premier League campaign on Tuesday.
“It’s a pretty crazy full circle,” Moscato said at a press conference announcing her one-year coaching deal with Illawarra.
Moscato takes over from Brett Wallin, who departed the club near the end of last season.
She was capped on 94 occasions for Canada, playing in three World Cups and winning an Olympic bronze medal.
Since her retirement in 2016 she has been working with the Canadian Soccer Association, assisting with mentoring the country’s young players.
A chance to link up with the Stingrays arose at the end of 2017 and she was quick to jump on the opportunity.
“This for me is a great project that I would like to take on this season and I know this team is capable of winning the competition,” Moscato said.
“I say that confidently in the sense that we are going to put the work in to give respectable performances.
“We have a great club to work with. Brendan [MacAlpine] and everybody at the club have been a great to work with since around late December when they got in touch.
“It was an excellent opportunity where I thought I was ready to take on this team and this project.”
Stingrays president Brendan MacAlpine hailed her signing as one of the biggest in the club’s history.
“We think it is huge for our club to deliver a football program that is equivalent to the W-League and also that we promote female coaches,” he said.
Moscato admitted she would bring a tactically different style to what the Stingrays have played under in the past, but the new coach recognised the strengths of the Australian game.
“I am very familiar with how the Aussies play in terms of the heart and soul of this country,” she said.
“We have played them a tonne of times throughout my career at a youth and senior level.
“I know what the Aussies are about. They are very gritty.
“Our team is no different in terms of the Australian spirit.”
Moscato is joined by Nick Leman, who takes up the role as the Stingrays’ High Performance Manager.