The Spaniard, who made a big impression during his A-League stint as Adelaide United coach, takes over the Australian under-23 team after Aurelio Vidmar was axed in March in the wake of a failed Rio Olympics qualifying campaign.
“I am excited by the standard of young players in Australia,” Gombau said in a statement.
“We will have a target to qualify for the Olympic Games but we will always be looking to prepare the players to play for the Socceroos.”
Gombau, who departed Adelaide United last July, was coach of Barcelona’s youth team for six years from 2003 and is renowned as a shrewd developer of talent.
The 40-year-old will be based in Sydney in his new role, an appointment welcomed by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
“The Olyroos is a direct feeder into the Socceroos and we feel Josep will assist in ensuring the next generation of players are ready to step into the national team but importantly also give them the best possible opportunity to qualify for the next Olympics,” Postecoglou said.
“He will play a broad role within our structure as we look to build on the good work that has been done to provide a smooth transition for younger players through the national teams.”
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