Referees rewarded at Football NSW State Dinner


Referees Matt Staples, Theo Dracopoulos and Phil Torpy have all been recognised for their amazing achievements at the 2022 Football NSW State Dinner. 

Both Staples and Dracopoulos picked up the inaugural Future Leader Awards, a new category added to the State Dinner presentations while Torpy collected a State Award for his efforts with the Football South Coast Association.

The Future Leader Award recognises an individual, aged between 16 and 25, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to football at any level of the game (club, association, branch, or state).

The Future Leader Award recipient is someone who has shown enthusiasm, determination, innovation, and direction in giving back to football and who is passionate about harnessing the power of football in their local community.

In addition to displaying exemplary leadership, the recipient will have driven change and improvement at their level of the game

Matt has contributed to a variety of referee branches throughout 2022, as well as in past years. He currently holds the role of Referee’s Coordinator at Blacktown District Soccer Football Association (BDSFA) which he does on a part-time basis, while working and studying full time. Throughout this role he is the face of the association, and deals with all the administration, emails, and the huge role of doing appointments for the whole branch. Further to this he has also ran all the new referee courses (Level 4), as well as the upgrade courses for Level 3 Referees. At 20 years old he is one of the youngest people in the state to do this.

Within Sutherland Shire Football Referees Association, he was a member of the Technical Sub-Committee and Equipment Officer in 2021. Through this role he assisted the members of the branch in getting all the equipment that was required, as well as developed and coached younger referees. Further to this he is also one of our Premier League referees where he often works with lesser experienced referees and provides valuable coaching. Within Football NSW competitions, he is an Assistant Referee on NPL NSW where he did over 30 games this year, as well as the Waratah Cup, League One, and NPL Women’s Grand Finals as an Assistant referee. He completed all of this while working his other jobs and coaching younger referees. He was a coach on the Referee Development Program (RDP) where he would assess referees in the mornings, as well as attend training during the week.

Matt is a determined young referee and administrator, and he is constantly trying to further the progress of the development of referees.

While Dracopoulos, living in Bombala NSW near the snowy mountains, travels an hour to coach young referees and train them.

Being a young man himself and having refereed at NPL NSW Men’s and NPL Capital Football level, it is fantastic to see his energy and commitment to the game. He also comes to games, coaching and assessing young referees, where they all look up to him. Theo is inspirational and crucial to the development of the local association and refereeing as a whole 

While finally Torpy became a member of the ISRA in 1970 as a junior member and has completed 53 years’ service to the referees in Illawarra.

He was awarded life membership in 1988.

He served on committees for 25 years in voluntary administrative positions and  many positions in the referees’ association over the period of his membership.

Phil was awarded referees’ clubman of the year in 1975, 1979, 1983, 1998, 2008

Phil was the first referees coach in Illawarra and a position that he held from 2009 to 2012. He continues to serve as the referees coach and coordinator of assessors whilst regularly assisting with the conduct of New Referee courses. He is a recognised Assessor and Instructor and has been heavily involved in the development of junior referees since 1977 paying back to those in the pathway he followed.

Phil has been always involved in in the administration and organization of football fixtures including matches including Illawarra, National league level, and a league level and at FIFA sanctioned matches.

Phil has refereed at State League and NSL level. He has also voluntarily hosted visiting International referees in Australia for FIFA matches for periods of their entire stay

Whilst giving so much to refereeing, he has also served as a voluntary Match Commissioner on International and NSL games.

He also spent 3 years as a volunteer Board Member with the Wollongong Wolves and participated in the working party establishing the Illawarra Stingrays.

Phil has been an integral part of football in the Illawarra, NSW and Australia wide for a number of years and is still working towards improving referee standards in the Illawarra.

Congrats to all three officials for their accolades.