Stephen Christopher Corica born 24 March 1973 in Innisfail, Australia) is a former Australian football (soccer) player and coach of Sydney’s National Youth League side. A technically gifted and skillful player playing primarily as an attacking midfielder, he is very versatile, able to play both centrally or out wide, or even pushed up as a second striker. He announced his retirement from professional football on 16 February 2010 due to injury.
• Corica started playing football in his home town of Innisfail, in Far North Queensland and joining the elite player program at the Australian Institute of Sport in 1990.] On completion of the scholarship he signed with Marconi-Fairfield in the now defunct National Soccer League. In his first NSL season he made just three starts, but developed to a regular selection in following years. In 1992/93 he helped Marconi to a grand final win and was named Under 21 Player of the Year. The next two years were less successful for the Marconi and in 1995, Corica sought a career move to Europe.
Corica signed with Leicester City in the English First Division. He debuted for the club on 12 August 1995 and scored in a 2–1 win. Adding to his tally was harder to come by for following games, and in February, Corica and fellow Australian Zeljko Kalac were signed by their former Leicester manager Mark McGhee forWolverhampton Wanderers in a joint £1.75 million deal (the component for Corica was £1.1m). Kalac was unable to gain a work permit for Wolves and returned to Australia, but Corica remained. In four-and-a-half seasons at Wolves, Corica made over 100 appearances, although hampered by a series of knee injuries.
Corica left Wolves in 2000, moving to Japan with J. League Division 1 side Sanfrecce Hiroshima for two season, then returning to England at Walsall. In September 2004, unable to work his way into the first team, Walsall agreed to release him.
He finally decided to return home to Australia after spending 10 years abroad, joining new A-League club Sydney FC. It was a shaky start to the new competition for Corica, sent off in Sydney’s third A-League match against Newcastle for a dangerous foul. After serving a one match suspension, he repaid the club scoring just five minutes in against Queensland Roar, and following up with a second goal later in the match. Corica retained a place in the side for much of the year as Sydney progressed to the Grand Final. A set-up from Dwight Yorke in the second half, gave Corica the only goal in Sydney FC’s 1–0 victory over the Central Coast Mariners to help the team win the inaugural A-League Championship.
He remained with the club in 2006/07 and played a key role in Sydney’s 2007 Asian Champions League campaign, scoring four goals in six matches. He is still at Sydney for the 2007/08 season. On 1 April 2008 he signed a 1 year contract to remain at Sydney, and given his age is possible he will retire afterward. Corica had a great start to the 2008–09 A-League Season after scoring a double in the Round 2 match against Central Coast Mariners.
He became Sydney’s highest goalscorer after overtaking Sasho Petrovski’s former record of 14, with a Penalty in Sydney’s 5–2 thrashing of Perth Glory. He became Sydney’s 3rd player to reach 100 professional games for the club, with their 2–1 loss to Perth Glory on 19 November 2008 at Members Equity Stadium. On 11 February 2010 he announced his retirement at the end of the season.
On the final day of the regular season in the 2009/10 season against Melbourne Victory, Corica limped off in the 20th minute due to hamstring problems. Sydney went on to win the game 2–0 and claimed the Premiership. After later examination of his injury, it was discovered that he had torn his hamstring muscle and required surgery thus ending his season. He then announced his full retirement from professional football.
Corica has represented Australia at all youth (U17, U20, U23) and at national team level, the first Australian to achieve the feat.
He represented Australia at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Scotland in 1989. Although his team finished last in a very tough group, he did have his moments, such as scoring against Brazil in a 3–1 loss. In 1991, he was selected for the FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal, where Australia performed remarkably well and reached the semi finals before losing to the hosts. He then went on to play in two Olympic Games football tournament, the first being the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where Australia made another impressive run to the semi finals, this time falling to Poland at the pemultimate stage. Four years later, he was part of the 1996 Olympics team in Atlanta. He was part of a generation of Australian players (including Paul Okon, Ned Zelic, Mark Bosnich and Zeljko Kalac) dubbed the “Golden Generation”.
On 16 April 1993 Corica was given his full national team debut by Eddie Thomson (former national coach) against Kuwait in a friendly match in Singapore. He then went on to play for the national team, earning over 40 caps (some in non-‘A’ internationals) and scoring 6 goals including appearances at the 1997 and 2001 Confederations Cups. After a five year absence from the national team, he appeared in an Asia Cup qualifier against Kuwait on 16 August 2006 as one of eight Sydney FC players called up to the national team.
Corica took over as coach for the Sydney FC National Youth League team from the 2010–11 season.
It was announced in July 2011, that Corica would become one of two Assistant Coaches to Manager Vitezslav Lavicka, along with Ian Crook, who was the assistant coach at Sydney FC, under Pierre Littbarski during Sydney FC’s Inaugural season, in which they won the 05-06 Championship.
In 2012, Corica acted as caretaker coach of Sydney FC, after the resignation of Ian Crook and until the hiring of replacement Frank Farina.
|2010–||Sydney FC (Youth)|
|2011–||Sydney FC (Asst.)|
|2012||Sydney FC (Caretaker)|