Stavros strives for the big time

Teen aims to con­tinue fam­ily’s pro­fes­sional foot­ball tra­di­tion

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - Jil­lian McKee

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.

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