Murray United coach James Coutts will part ways with the club at the end of the season.
The 30-year-old will take up a senior playing role with former A-League club Gold Coast United, whilst also serving as a development coach within its junior academy.
He leaves Murray after its most successful campaign in its three-year history, with a guaranteed top-five finish.
Coutts said initial contact was made about the offer a couple of weeks ago and Gold Coast’s ambition to push for a return to the A-League was something he couldn’t turn down.
“It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make,” Coutts said.
“Telling Pedro and David (Afonso) was extremely hard because they have been huge in bringing me here and providing a platform for what I've been able to do.
“Telling the players was the most difficult thing last (Wednesday) night.
“Those boys have become so close as a group and with how close we are as a team, it’s extremely difficult to leave them.
“I think it's a testament to those boys this season where we've gone and to finish top five is huge for this club.
“There's nine players that have been here since year one, so it's not that we've had mass changes, we've coached and there has been a belief within those players that they can do it.
“I think it has been a good relationship both ways, but you've got to cease opportunities when they arise and I just felt this was too good of an opportunity to turn down.”
Coutts added his role as a senior player-coach in the last two-and-a-half years has taken its toll, hence his decision to move back into a junior role, with the aim of returning to senior coaching later in his career.
“Hopefully I can develop that and continue playing, so when I do finish playing l'll hopefully go full-time into coaching and will be a much better coach for it,” he said.
“Certainly this experience has also helped me to develop my coaching and management skills.
“When I applied for the 20s job at Murray, I didn't really have any aspirations to coach any time soon.
“I was pretty scared to say the least and I didn't really have a clue to be honest.
“As I got going, I got the bug for it and have loved it.”
Coutts will coach Murray for the final time in the club’s last game of the season against Nunawading City at La Trobe on Saturday.