Those that have had the pleasure of playing or visiting Strathfield Park in Sydney’s Inner West, home to the mighty Strathfield Strikers FC, would have seen one of the club’s most energetic and enthusiastic volunteers, 22-year-old Angelica Georgopoulos.
With National Volunteer Week in full swing, Football NSW had the opportunity to interview Angelica and asked her a range of questions about playing her role in promoting football in Australia.
The young female football ambassador’s efforts have been recognised after receiving the 2019 Youth Achievement Award by Strathfield Council and Strathfield Rotary Club as well as Service To Sport Award by Bankstown Sports Club.
Not bad for the 22-year-old who kick started her volunteer career at the age of 15.
MS: How did you get involved as a volunteer?
AG: I started playing football at 9 years old at Strathfield Football Club. My older sister had started when she was 5 years old, and so my family have always been around a football field for years. Football is very much what ties my family together, for years both my parents were the coach and manager of my football team at Strathfield, so naturally Strathfield FC became my second home, if not my first home!
MS: Why did you get involved?
AG: I was naturally drawn to the club and volunteering after my family started to become more involved by coaching and managing. This influenced me, but I think one of the driving reasons was realising the lack of women that were involved in the game in general.
I was 14 years old when I first discovered there was a FIFA Women’s World Cup. I was furious at the time and so angry that it took 14 years for me to find this out.
I remember telling all my teammates “Did you know there’s a Women’s World Cup too?” and not to my surprise, they also had no idea. So at 15 I wanted to get more involved in football and not just playing, this was definitely the driving force behind my passion for volunteering and getting women involved in the game. It was clear from a young age that women weren’t very welcome in football, not because people didn’t want them there, I believe it was because women didn’t feel they had a place in football.
I always felt the warmth that was around the SFC committee members at the time, and I wanted to be involved in my club so that I could make a small difference for girls wanting to be a part of the game too. I remember going to my first meeting and was so nervous because I was worried that I would be out of place. But that feeling fled almost immediately, Strathfield Football Club and the committee took me in as one of theirs and I’ve never looked back.
MS: Why do you enjoy volunteering and what did you get out of it?
AG: I love volunteering because sometimes you want to tear your hair out! You have to wake up some mornings and be at a cold park at 7am, deal with some pretty crazy stuff and yet amongst all this, you see how happy you can make the kids, or young girls who say they want to do what I do.
Volunteering gives you the power to make change and anyone can do it!
Volunteering has given me a voice from a young age, I’ve learnt to handle responsibility and deal with real life problems, these are the things I would never have learnt in a classroom setting or from a textbook.
Volunteering gives me purpose in this world, especially as a young woman who’s seen the female game shift over the past 10 years, I’ve quite literally seen the change with my own eyes.
I love volunteering because I can be a voice for those girls coming through, I can make sure those girls have equal opportunity and have just as much of a chance at being professional.
My volunteer work has given me opportunities I never thought I’d ever receive. I discovered my passion through volunteering, and it made me see football is what I want to do in life and as a career. Volunteering can make such an impact in the game, and I think that’s why I love it. I don’t think there’s anything else in the world for me that makes me feel proud to be a part of football other than through my volunteer work.
Volunteering has made me see people from a different light, people come together for a common goal to better the community.
You’d think in this day and age, people wouldn’t care about that kind of stuff, being a volunteer, you really do get to see the good in people. At the end of the day, we all love what we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it.