FORMER Football Hall of Fame WA Committee member Peter Dimopoulos has been honoured by ruling body Football West as the coach of the Gold Fields Senior Women’s State Dream Team.
Football West (with input from the WA football public) decided to celebrate the contribution of the many fine female players to have represented the State at senior level since 1975 by selecting a Dream Team – and Peter got the nod as the “dream coach”.
Peter, who died in August, 2015 at the age of 90, was one of the driving forces behind the fledgling WA Women’s Soccer Association in 1974 – and he coached the State team to victory in the Australian Women’s Championship in Brisbane in 1975.
He was elected president of the Women’s Association in 1976. He then organised and led the WA women in their first venture into Asia in 1977, becoming the first Australian female team to compete in Malaysia and Singapore.
They played six games in Malaysia, winning them all by handsome margins, and then drew 0-0 with Singapore in their last contest, when only a missed penalty prevented them from achieving a 100 per cent record.
The tour laid the groundwork for the Australian team that competed in the World Women’s Tournament in Taiwain in 1978, with WA players Sandra Brentnall, Julie Clayton, Anna Senjuschenko, Judy Pettitt, Teresa Kozak, Jill Sison and Sharon Loveless being selected for the Matildas. (He is pictured with some of the players he coached at WA level).
Peter was born in Greece and emigrated to Australia at age 11, settling initially in Port Augusta and then Adelaide. He joined the army when he was 16 and chose to make Perth his home when he returned to Australia in 1947.
He linked up as a player with several local football teams, including Perth Corinthians, Balmoral, Perth City and South Perth.
He turned to coaching in 1960, looking after Subiaco’s juniors and then becoming secretary of the Junior Soccer Federation. He then coached Fremantle Dalmatinac and Olympic before helping form the Women’s Soccer Association.
Peter was president of the Professional Soccer League for a brief spell before becoming kit manager of the Perth Kangaroos team in their venture into Asia in 1995, when they won the Singapore League.
He was inducted into the WA Hall of Fame in 1996, and became a valued member of the Committee in 2002, along with his wife Barbara Gibson, until his retirement in 2014.
Just a month before his death he had been saluted by the Australian Army for his services as an interpreter during World War Two when he was a prisoner of the Japanese in Singapore and later in Thailand from 1942 until 1945.
He was ANZAC of the Year in 2013 when his image appeared on the sides of Transperth buses around Perth – and he was one of five Australians to represent the Australian Army at a ceremony held at the Kranji War Memorial in Singapore in 2012.