By George Kouroumalis & John Kyrou (Photo by Skip Fulton)
At only sixteen years of age, young defender Sam Kagioglou is making a mark for himself in South Melbourne FC’s NPL 20s side in 2014. Older South supporters might see the surname Kagioglou and recall that Sam’s grandfather (also named Sam Kagioglou) was a goalkeeper for South Melbourne Hellas in the 1960s.
Like many Europeans, senior Sam Kagioglou migrated to Australia in the 1960s in order to give himself and his family a better way of life. With football being in his blood, he joined and was part of South Melbourne’s squad for four seasons between 1964 and 1967. Whilst he mostly played second fiddle to the many great South goalkeepers of the time in Harry Vamvakas, Panayiotis Tsitsos, Sam Service and Heinz Wenzl, Sam still contributed when given the opportunity to do so during South’s 1964, 1965 and 1966 Victorian State League Championship winning seasons. Along the way he played alongside many great players, including with arguably the greatest of them all in Con Nestorides during 1966 and 1967.
His grandson has emerged under Sasa Kolman’s guidance in 2014 to become a tough and uncompromising defender with a wonderful ability to slide in and win the tackle. Obviously born into a South Melbourne family, junior Kagioglou joined South Melbourne FC in the Under 10s and has since progressed through the junior ranks right up to Under 20s level. “I really love the Club. From a young age, my grandfather gave me an understanding of not only what the Club means to our family but also what it means to Australian football.”
Junior Sam reflected on his own memories of supporting South Melbourne on the terraces. “In my earliest years I remember going to Lakeside Stadium and enjoyed seeing the Club in the old National Soccer League. One of my fondest memories is when Vaughan Coveny scored against Parramatta Power (in a 2-1 win) in front of a packed crowd (10,005 on Sunday 14 December 2003). I hope that one day I will get a chance to emulate Vaughan and represent this great Club at a senior level. Having said that, wearing the South badge even at youth level is something that I also cherish. I really want to see the Club back on the national stage one day and I would love to be a part of it.”
A former professional defender himself, Kolman has been impressed with Sam’s willingness to learn and his ability given his young age. “Our Under 20s side has made wonderful progress over the past two months and one of the reasons for this is because we have stopped leaking silly goals at the back. Sam has played his part in this and he has fantastic ability at only sixteen years of age. You can clearly tell how much he loves playing for the Club given his family connection.”
South Melbourne FC wishes Sam Kagioglou the very best not only for this season but also for the next phase of his South career. We hope that one day we will see another Sam Kagioglou lining up for the senior South Melbourne side again.
Pictured: South Melbourne Hellas’ 1966 Victorian State League Championship winning squad pose for a team photo before a match against Pan-Hellenic in Sydney.
Back Row: Sam Kagioglou (GK), Takis Mantarakis, John Margaritis, George Katsidis, Sam Service (GK), Boulis Kambouropoulos, John Bedford, Andreas Roussis, Con Nestorides.
Front Row: Jim Pyrgolios, George Papadopoulos, Leo Damianakos, Laki Litopoulos, Ernie Ackerley, Mike Mandalis.