Canberra United Assistant Coach Alex Epakis is the youngest A-License accredited coach in Australia after the recent successful completion of his assessments.
The 26-year old completed the final part of his license at the end of 2017, capping a quick rise through the coaching system after beginning his C-license in late 2013.
After realising that his playing career had arguably peaked, Epakis at 19 decided to take up coaching in a bid to stay involved within the sport's professional environment.
"I started when I was probably 19, and still playing, but I realised that if I wanted to be involved professionally it wasn't going to be as a player," he said.
"So I made the decision to start the coaching process with the C-License, and I guess I've just kicked on from there."
"It's been a really interesting rise. I never expected to be coaching at the level I am now or for it to be such a big part of my life when I started. It was always just something I wanted to do and use as an opportunity to spring board into other things.
When Season 10 of the Westfield W-League concludes for Canberra United, Epakis will move back to Sydney for the Winter months as he prepares to take on the Head Coaching role for the Sydney University Women's side, where we was an assistant to Garriock in 2017.
"When I get back to Sydney Uni it will be all system's go, and I'm really excited to take over at what I believe is the best NPL side in the country for Women.
"For that project my goals are about doing as well as I can while I am there, meaning titles and success."
Epakis credits a number of his mentors with his move through the coaching ranks, particularly Garriock who brought Epakis with her to Canberra this season.
"I've met a lot of good people along the way who have helped me, particularly Kelly Cross at Sydney FC who gave me a great role within the Academy.
"From there I was involved with Heather [Garriock] at Sydney Uni and now at Canberra United.
"I want to continue the process of learning from people like Heather as an assistant until I feel like I'm in a position where I can offer value at a higher level."
"Coaching and playing are similar in that you want to play at the highest level, and you want to coach at the highest level."
"And for me it's not so much important whether it's as an assistant or head coach, but as long as it's being involved in high performance environments working with good people."