By Takis Triadafillou
No sports match is complete without a referee, and the best referees are some of the hardest to find. Two who are already overthrowing the male establishment in the field of refereeing and football, both in Australia and worldwide, are sisters Angelica and Alexandra Georgopoulos.
Coming from a family of sports, with their father Panagiotis being a second generation immigrant and mother Rhonda from Belfast, Ireland, they became the pillars for the two girls to make their dreams come true and give an entity and recognition to women’s football and refereeing.
Alexandra, how did you started playing football?
I started at the age of 6 for Strathfield FC in a mixed team and in my sophomore year I played in a girls team and have continued ever since. Following on from playing football, I then decided to pursue a degree in refereeing, studying in a school of refereeing, and have been refereeing since 2014.
As a graduate coach at Meriden School, I am studying Bachelor Of Business, specialising in Sports Management, at the University of Western Sydney. At the same time, I help my parents’ business in Elders Real Estate Greenacre.
Alexandra, how do you see the Australian National Team – Matildas?
It is a big event to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It will go very well and with the appropriate support from the Australian Football Federation and the fans, I believe it will be a unique World Cup.
Alexandra, how did you manage during the coronavirus pandemic?
Classes were always done via Zoom or Skype with the management program. It is understandable that it is not easy to plan for 25 students that are below ten years old. But, I believe that with care and prudence we will return to our original rhythms.
Angelica, how did you get started in football?
From a young age, I had a passion for sportsmanship and, in fact, of women, supporting to this day the rights and the role of women in sports. My goal is the equality, development and promotion of women’s football in the sports community. I do not hide from you that I would like to work for the Australian Football Federation and for FIFA.
Volunteering and football in general is very important to me. I am studying for a Bachelor of Advanced Business Leadership, specialising in Sports Management at the University of Western Sydney.
Angelica, how did you manage during the coronavirus pandemic?
Like Alexandra, I tried to continue my studies through the internet and to help and cheer people up in this difficult global crisis.
It is important to mention their grandparents, Nikolas and Agapi Georgopoulos. Their grandfather is from Methoni in Messinia and the grandmother is from Aetos in Florina. They continuously act as the flame for their grandchildren, showing them eternal love and emotion.
Their grandfather, with his love and strength, supported the girls throughout the course of their lives. Similarly, their grandmother is proud of her grandchildren, who were to become shining examples for the entire female sports community.
The two girls brought joy for the whole Greek and Australian sports family, representing two unique values. It is not just skills, but ethics and respect that dominate their lives, inherited from their parents and grandparents.
It is worth mentioning the Greek proverb, “Το µήλο κάτω από τη µηλιά θα πέσει” (“The apple fall doesn’t fall far from the tree”).