A-League "has better players and better coaches "

At the start of the new Australian A-League season, football writer Michael Cockerill noted that, in its third edition, the competition "has better players and better coaches than ever before." While Nick Carle, David Carney, Dario Vidosic and Adrian Leijer "have demonstrated in the off-season, ambitious, mainly younger Australian players will continue to seek their fame and fortune abroad," six former or current Socceroos, Craig Moore, Danny Tiatto, Paul Agostino, Tony Popovic, Hayden Foxe and Ljubo Milicevic, have returned home to play alongside emerging stars like Nathan Burns, Mark Milligan, Bruce Djite, Kristian Sarkies, Stuart Musialik, Danny Vukovic and Ben Griffin.

"Sydney FC, and to a lesser extent Adelaide United, proved during their recent Asian Champions League campaigns that the standard of the A-League is better than it is given credit for," which was enough for Frank Culina and Aurelio Vidmar to secure their coaching jobs respectively. That means, this this season, "five of the eight coaches in the A-League were either born at home or schooled in the game at home. Compared to the inaugural season, when only John Kosmina could be regarded as home-grown, it is a welcome development," he wrote.

"The perception that playing standards are improving seems to have been embraced by those that matter. Last season, the A-League became the 21st most watched professional sporting competition [average crowd 14,042] in the world. Audiences on Fox Sports were up 38 percent on the first season, with a total of 2.6 million viewers, a figure that doesn't include pubs and clubs. With memberships increasing by 15 percent across the eight clubs, there is every reason to believe supporters will watch the A-League in even greater numbers," he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald. On the financial side, Central Coast Mariners has received an investment boost from former Sydney FC director Peter Turnbull and Football Federation Australia has "been able to sell its shares in Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix."

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