This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (November 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Full name||Paul Michael Okon|
|Date of birth||5 April 1972|
|Place of birth||Sydney, Australia|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 9 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Defender / Midfielder|
|2002||→ Watford (loan)||15||(0)|
|2008–2009||APIA Leichhardt (Interim)|
|2009–2010||Gold Coast United (Assist.)|
|2012–2016||Australia U-23 (Asst.)|
|2016–2018||Central Coast Mariners|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:47, 25 February 2010 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:30, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
He previously captained the Australian National Team and has represented Australia Olympic Football Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Okon's career began at Marconi Stallions in the old NSL in Australia. He then went on to play at many European clubs including S.S. Lazio and Fiorentina in Italy's Serie A, Vicenza Calcio in Serie B, Middlesbrough F.C. and Leeds United F.C. in the English Premiership, Club Brugge, K.V. Oostende in Belgium's Jupiler League and APOEL in the Cypriot First Division. Okon was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2009, for his services to football in Australia. During his time in Belgium, Okon acquired citizenship of the country.
Okon grew up in a Sydney suburb of Bossley Park. He is of German and Italian descent. He represented his high school, Patrician Brothers' College, Fairfield during his time as a teenage schoolboy and featured prominently in all teams including the A Grade squad. However, his abilities did not stop at the football pitch. He set the record for high jump at the College's annual Athletics Carnival in the under 16s age group which was not broken until 2004.
Okon left Marconi Stallions in 1991 for Club Brugge, and due to a series of excellent performances at sweeper won the Belgian Golden Shoe (95/96), the Belgian Jupiler league (95/96) and two Belgian Cups (94/95 and 95/96). These performances captured the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs, and in 1996 Dino Zoff – then coach of Italian giants Lazio – flew out to Belgium to personally sign the Australian, stipulating in his contract that Okon would play sweeper and promising first team football. However, with the departure of Roberto Di Matteo to Chelsea – forcing him to play in midfield – and a succession of knee injuries (a problem caused by a misaligned pelvis, the result of a childhood car-crash) resulted in game-time being limited. While he did return for the 1999 Scudetto decider (playing in one of the final games of the season against Juventus, which Lazio lost, handing the title to A.C. Milan) that summer he departed the Roman club.
This began a turbulent chapter of Okon's career, with spells at Fiorentina, Middlesbrough, Leeds United and Vicenza before returning to the country where he made his name with Oostende in 2004. After a brief spell with APOEL in Cyprus, Okon returned to Australia.
He signed with A-League club Newcastle United Jets for the 2006–07 season. Okon fit into a well-constructed Jets side and helped then make the play-offs in 2007. Due to injury concerns, Okon decided to retire from professional football in June 2007. Okon played for amateur team West Ryde Rovers' over-35 Division 1 team in the GHFA.
On 24 June 2008, along with Alex Tobin, Alistair Edwards and Nicola Williams, Okon was a recipient of an inaugural three-year scholarship under the Elite Coaching Development Program led by the FFA. As part of the program, Okon spent time at Coverciano with the Italian U-23 side under Pierluigi Casiraghi in the lead up to the 2008 Olympic Games, and spent a stint studying the youth setup of PSV Eindhoven.
On 2 September 2008 Okon was appointed assistant coach to Miron Bleiberg at Gold Coast United for their inaugural season. Before taking up his new role he took up an interim coaching role at APIA Leichhardt for their 2009 NSW Premier League season.
On 30 October 2008 Okon was appointed to lead the Australian U-18 side at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in the month of January, aimed as part of a long term view towards establishing the team for the 2012 Olympic Games.
On 23 February 2010, Okon did not renew his contract with Gold Coast United, following the team's loss in the first round of the A-league finals. Since then he has gone away on tour with the Australian Olympic under 23 squad for a tournament in Vietnam where he was assistant coach to Aurelio Vidmar.
On 29 August 2016, Okon was appointed the new manager of the Central Coast Mariners, signing a two-year contact. Okon replaced Tony Walmsley, who was sacked following Central Coast's FFA Cup elimination at the hands of National Premier Leagues Victoria team Green Gully SC.
In Okon's debut as Central Coast manager, the Mariners drew 3-3 with Perth Glory at Nib Stadium, after coming back from 3-0 down at half time. Okon achieved his first win as Central Coast manager in his fifth game in charge: a 2-1 win over defending champions Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on 6 November 2016.
National team statistics
|Australia national team|
- As of 6 May 2018
|Central Coast Mariners||29 August 2016||Present||51||10||13||28||19.61|
- Cypriot Cup: 2005–06
- NSL Papasavas Medal (U-21): 1989–1990, 1990–1991
- Belgian Golden Shoe: 1995–1996
- Oceania Footballer of the Year: 1996
- [dead link]
- "Gladesville Hornsby Football Association". GHFA. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
-  Archived 29 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
-  Archived 12 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
-  Archived 29 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Aurelio Vidmar and Paul Okon to coach national youth sides - Football Australia 2013". Footballaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Mariners appoint Paul Okon as Head Coach". A-League. Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
- "Central Coast Mariners steal point in dramatic fightback against Perth Glory". ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- Greco, John. "Pain stunner inspires Mariners to upset win over Reds". Central Coast Mariners FC. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- Kemp, Emma (20 March 2018). "Paul Okon quits as Mariners boss after disappointing A-League campaign". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Paul Okon". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
- "Paul Okon". ALeague Stats. Retrieved 12 January 2017.