Michael Valkanis lands dream role as Assistant Manager of Ajax
Michael Valkanis has landed a dream role as assistant manager of European football giants Ajax.
In a coaching career that has taken him across six countries, Valkanis has amassed experience within elite football in a range of diverse environments, working with clubs such as KAS Eupen, Melbourne City, and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Before beginning on his path as a coach, Valkanis enjoyed an 11-year professional playing career, making over 280 appearances for football clubs throughout Australia and Greece. A talented centre-back, the 49-year-old began his youth career with South Melbourne, where he would later secure his first professional contract in 1993.
In 1996, Valkanis signed for Greek side Iraklis, and would also play for Larissa and Agios Nikolaos during his time in Greece. A contract with Adelaide City brought Valkanis back to Australia in 2002. Before he hung up his boots in 2009, the former centre-back spent the final six years of his playing career at A-League club Adelaide United.
In his new role at Ajax, Valkanis will reunite with Dutch coach John van’t Schip, who was appointed interim head coach of the club in October 2023. Valkanis has worked alongside van’t Schip as assistant manager at Melbourne City and PEC Zwolle, as well as within Greece’s national setup.
Van’t Schip has a long history with Ajax, having spent five years of his youth playing career and eleven years of his senior career at the Eredivisie side. He has previously coached talented young players within Ajax’s prestigious Academy system and has also held Valkanis’ current role of assistant manager at the club.
Currently, Ajax sits in twelfth place in the 18-club Eredivisie table. Valkanis and van’t Schip will be striving to revitalise and rejuvenate their team as they prepare for upcoming ties with Eredivisie rivals Almere and Vitesse, as well as a Europa League away fixture to Marseille on 30th November.
Valkanis’ coaching acumen and keen understanding of the international football landscape — underpinned by his own experience as a player — will stand him in good stead as he tackles his new challenge at Ajax.