Stavros strives for the big time
Teen aims to continue family’s professional football tradition
SOMETIMES the biggest Wanderers fans are not from Western Sydney at all.
This week’s Junior Sports Star nominee, Stavros Palapanis, travels more than an hour from Sydney’s east to be part of the club.
A dedicated player, Stavros makes the trip out west three to four times a week from Sans Souci to play and train at Rooty Hill in the Western Sydney Wanderers first academy side.
The 13-year-old had been playing for his local St George club since he was six, when he was scouted last year to join the academy.
With international football stars in the family, his father Terry Palapanis said Stavros always was destined for great things.
“He wants to play in the A- -League; he wants to emulate his dad,” Mr Palapanis said.
“I was scouted when I was young and played in the old NSL competition for Sydney United and played overseas.
“I also played over in Greece for a few years.”
But it’s not just his father: the whole Palapanis family are football superstars.
“I have two nephews at the Wanderers and my dad was an ex-professional player,” Mr Palapanis said.
“Stavros has grown up with football and now he just wants to get better and better at the game.
“He just loves it, he’s on Play Station all day playing football and then training in the afternoon.
“School, football, and the Wanderers – it’s all he does.”
Despite a full school week and other commitments, Mr Palapanis said his son was dedicated to the sport and didn’t mind the travel.
“It is quite a distance to travel but we are happy to do it and he is happy to do it,” he said.
“He feels pretty special to be part of an A-League club.”
Stavros told The Standard he was hoping to one day play in the Western Sydney Wanderers A-League side.
His long-term goal is to play at an international level.
It appears he has the talent and support and is well on his way.