|Date of birth||1 October 1957|
|Place of birth||Zadar, Croatia|
|1972–1974||St Albans Dinamo|
|1981||Blacktown City Demons|
|1982–1988||St Albans Dinamo|
|1989||St Albans Saints|
|1990–1992||North Geelong Warriors|
|2009–2011||Newcastle United Jets|
|2012–||Rockdale City Suns FC|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Branko Culina (Croatian pronunciation: [brâːŋko t͡ʃǔlina]; born 1 October 1957) is a Croatian-born Australian soccer manager and former player.
Culina was born in Zadar, Socialist Republic of Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia and emigrated to Australia with his mother in 1968, at the age of 10, settling in Melbourne's Croatian community. His senior playing career began with St. Albans Saints where he captained the senior team at the age of 15. In 1974 he transferred to Essendon Croatia, he had seven successful years at the club which included winning the Victorian State Championship in 1978 and the Victorian treble (State Champions, Dockerty Cup and the State League Cup) in 1979.
In 1980 he joined sister club Sydney Croatia before moving to National Soccer League club Blacktown City Demons. After a season at each he returned to Melbourne with St Albans Saints, where he remained until retiring 1988.
After retiring as a player he stayed with St Albans as a coach in the Victorian Premier League for the 1989 season before taking up a role at North Geelong. At North Geelong, Culina lead the side to the 1990 Division One title leading to promotion to the VPL. He then won the VPL with North Geelong at the first go in 1991, beating Brunswick Juventus in the Grand Final at Middle Park. In 1992, he returned to the NSL at Melbourne Knights,
Culina returned to the NSL at Sydney United for the 1994–95 season. His three seasons at United would be his most successful to date, winning the minor premiership and reaching the competition Grand Final in the 1996–97 season, as well as winning the Waratah Cup in 1995 and 1996. Overall he coached 133 games for Sydney United, with 62 wins, 32 draws, and 39 losses, including an Australian record of 8 consecutive victories.
During this time he was also coach to his teenage son Jason Culina who was breaking into the Sydney United first team. While some accusations of nepotism floated around Branko has said he 'didn't have to do [Jason] any favours because he didn't need any', perhaps evidenced best by Jason's later success as a Socceroo.
After his successful 1996–97 season, he was signed with great promise to take over . Sydney Olympic. Over three seasons, he would become Olympic's longest serving coach, narrowly missing out on a finals place in his first year before pushing the team into the finals in both 1999-00 and 2000–01 NSL seasons.
In 2001, he returned to Sydney United, however the club was now less of a force in the national league. Following the demise of the NSL, Culina had been working as Technical Director for the state governing body Soccer NSW, which included a coaching role in 2005 for the NSW State Representative Team.
In 2007 he returned to coaching at A-League club Sydney FC. Sydney had accepted the resignation of former coach Terry Butcher at the close of a disappointing 2006–07 season, and on 13 February 2007 appointed Culina in an interim role, for initially six months, to guide the club in its first Asian Champions League campaign. Culina then led Sydney FC to five wins in eight games, including a historic 2–1 away win against Shanghai Shenhua – the first-ever victory recorded by an Australian club in the AFC Champions League. On 23 April 2007 he was confirmed as Sydney's permanent coach with a two-year contract.
Despite the initial success with his new club, Culina found the A-Leagues 2007–08 season tough going. Highly inconsistent performance and an inability to win against teams both at the top and bottom end of the league table meant that Culina's Sydney found itself halfway through the competition in Round 9 with only two victories. after a 0–1 loss at home to Adelaide United, Culina was dismissed from his position with the club.
During a Round 7 clash between Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory, he made controversial remarks about referee Mark Shield, claiming that: "If the police need to escort you, it's not a good sign." "Don't ask me about the referee, I can't afford the fine … however, if the referee needs to be escorted by police after the game, you make your own mind up whether he's had a good game or bad game."
Newcastle United Jets
Culina was named as the manager of Newcastle United Jets FC from the start of the A-League 2009-10 season and given a two-year contract. He was previously working for the Jets as the Technical Director., Culina played an attractive brand of football.
Newcastle made it the finals series, losing to Wellington Phoenix. Branko was fined $3000, for using the word "shit" in a post-match press conference. After the takeover of the club by Nathan Tinkler, Culina signed with the club until 2015. On 4 October 2011, just four days out from the season opener, it was announced that Culina had been sacked as coach of the Newcastle Jets.
Rockdale City Suns
In his first season in charge of the side, Culina lead Rockdale to a 4th placed NSW Premier League finish, and all the way to the Grand Final after defeating Marconi Stallions, Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United 58 FC, but lost by 1-0 to Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC in front of around 5,000 people.
In April 2015, Culina was relieved of his duties by the Rockdale board.
- Personal Honours
- NSL Championship: 1996–1997
- Waratah Cup: 1995, 1996
- Victorian Division 1: 1991 championship winners
- Victorian Premier League: 1992 Premiership, 1992 Championship
- Personal Honours
- The World Cup Dream – Jason Culina's family
- "No trampoline now, but he's scaled heights". Michael Cockerill. 20 May 2006.
- "Branko is Sydney's man". Fox Sports. 13 February 2007.
- "Culina appointed full-time Sydney FC head coach". 23 April 2007.
- "Culina Sacked – Fox Sports News". 22 October 2007.
- Branko Is New Jets Boss
|NSL Coach of the Year