The Football NSW community is in mourning following the sad news of the passing of the man we all knew as ‘Mr 1974’ and a giant of Australian Sport, Rale Rasic.

Loved and adored by many, Rale was instrumental in paving the way promoting the identity of Australian Football to the world following his successes as coach of the Socceroos.

He will always be remembered as the first ever coach to lead the Socceroos to a World Cup but following that, he was a true pioneer in promoting our beautiful game to not just the nation, but the world.

The beauty of Rale was that he always had time for people whether they were at the top of the game or at grassroots level, he always had a genuine interest with all involved in our sport.

His contribution to the game especially in NSW was second to none.

His touchpoints reached as far as all our associations and clubs where Rale participated in, whether they were awards nights, gala days or simply weekend matches, the maestro always had time for all.

Born in the former Yugoslavia in 1935, Rale Rasic was selected to play for the Yugoslavia Youth team at the age of 17.

He went on to secure a Physical Education degree at Belgrade University.

After coming to Australia, he joined Melbourne JUST in 1962, helping to win the State League championship and Dockerty Cup.

Rasic represented Victoria nine times before retiring as a player in 1966.

His coaching career blossomed with a Victorian State League championship and a national Under-16 title.

Rasic was appointed national coach in August 1970, starting a run of success for the Socceroos that included a 12-match unbeaten streak in the 1972 world tour, an undefeated tour of Asia and a 2-2 draw with Pele’s Santos.

Rasic took the team through the 1974 rounds to line up matches against West and East Germany and Chile, culminating in Australia’s first appearance in the World Cup Finals in Germany.

Rasic was the inaugural NSL Coach of the Year with Marconi Fairfield in 1977, an honour he received again in 1987 with Apia Leichhardt.

He has also won the national league championship and the NSL Cup.

Rale was the Coach for Blacktown City FC in 1981-2.

In 2001 he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal and the Centenary Medal for “services to soccer”, and in 2004 the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to soccer as a player, coach and administrator.”

Football NSW awarded Rale with a special Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2007 State Dinner.

Football in this country will always remember and honour the name of Rale Rasic, a gentleman, a pioneer, a true master of his craft, a wonderful man who shaped our sport today.

All of Football NSW sends its condolences to the Rasic family, those closest to Rale, and everyone he impacted through football over the years.

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