The youngest of four children, Frank was born in Darwin and spent his early childhood in Papua New Guinea. He grew up in Cairns where he played school soccer with St. Augustine's College, and with club sides Stratford United and Edge Hill United before playing with Mareeba United in the Queensland State League at the age of 16, until he won a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
Frank began his national soccer league career with the Canberra Arrows in 1983 and also played with Sydney City and Club Marconi before making the move overseas to play in Belgium, France and Italy. In Australia, he twice won each of Player of the Year, Leading Goal scorer of the Year and Most Entertaining Player.
In Belgium he won the Best Foreign Player, as well as the Leading Goal scorer award in 1991. He represented Australia on 86 occasions, including the World Youth Cup in Mexico City in 1983, the 1986, 1990 and 1994 World Cup campaigns, and the 1988 Olympics. He retired from international competition in 1993. Frank returned to Australia in 1995 to play with the Brisbane Strikers. In 1996-97, he became player-coach of the Strikers and guided them to victory in the National Soccer League (NSL) Grand Final in May 1997 when they defeated Sydney United 2-0 before a record crowd for a domestic game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
In November 1997, the Queensland Sports Federation named him Coach of the Year, and he returned to Marconi as coach in 1998-99 taking them to fourth on the NSL championship table. He also played numerous Cup games in Australia and Europe, including the prestigious European Cup competition. Franks' book on his playing career, entitled My World is Round, was published in September 1998.
He was appointed as the first Australian-born coach of the Socceroos in August 1999, and his national coaching record of 31 games includes 18 wins, 5 draws and 8 losses, including wins over world champions France, and a win over football powerhouse, Brazil at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2001. The Socceroos, unfortunately, missed out on the opportunity for the 2002 World Cup finals when they were defeated 3-1 on aggregate by Uruguay in November 2001.
The former national Socceroos coach Frank Farina is not only an outstanding after dinner speaker with his vast array of football anecdotes, but also - as a leader at the helm of the national team for 6 years (and with career wins over Brazil, France and England) - an excellent speaker on team leadership.
* Team leadership