Sydney Olympic FC

Established in Sydney by Greek immigrants in 1957, Sydney Olympic Football Club has been a mainstay of Australia’s National Soccer League ever since and the nursery of many of its finest talents.

In the late 40’s and 50’s there were several small Greek teams for the purposes of socialising and giving a sense of home for the newly arrived migrants. These teams included; Taxiarchis, Atlas, Astro, Panhellenic, Pansamiakos as well as several others. Many people wondered about establishing 1 strong Greek team in order to participate in the NSW Soccer Federation. The newly formed team was to be known as Pan-Hellenic as it represented the shared journeys of Greeks from all over the world who migrated to Sydney from various places, not just Greece and Cyprus, but also from various other places like, Egypt, Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia and Asia Minor.

The club was established as Pan Hellenic Soccer Club and its initial strip was blue and white vertical stripes. The club quickly became competitive in the NSW Second Division, with the club dominating the Division in its first 3 seasons.

In 1961 it earned promotion to the New South Wales First Division attracting and producing large crowds and excellent players. In its first season in the top division, the club finished in the top 4, a fantastic achievement. The club would also make the top 4 in 1963 and 1967. The club also reached two State Cup Finals, in 1965 and 1969. The 1968 season though, was the highlight of the pre-National Soccer League era, 11 years after the club’s foundation, it finished 2nd in the standings and reached the NSW First Division Grand Final for the first time, only to lose 4–2 to bitter rivals Hakoah.

After some lean seasons, in 1975 the club again made the top 4, finishing 3rd. In the Finals Series Pan-Hellenic made it through to the Preliminary Final, only to lose 1–0 after extra-time to APIA Leichhardt, in a tense affair.

In 1977 the club became a founding member of the National Soccer League (NSL), and also changed its name to Sydney Olympic. But two years later it was back in the NSW First Division. The league had decided to cut back on teams from NSW and having finished second last on the ladder beating only South Melbourne, Sydney Olympic was controversially relegated.

​The spell back in the NSW First Division competition did not last long, with Sydney Olympic defeating the Parramatta Eagles 4–0 in the 1980 NSW Grand Final to win the NSW First Division. That victory secured Sydney Olympic a return to top-flight Australian football in 1981 where it remained until the NSL folded in 2004.

The 1980s for Sydney Olympic were characterized with great football, large and passionate support, fantastic players, unfathomable highs as well as a litany of failures.

The early 1980s saw a period of stabilisation for the club, as it settled back into the Australian top flight. During this period many young players and future legends of the club would be given their opportunity to make their mark for the club.

During the mid-1980s it was exciting times and the club was on a high, huge crowds flocked and followed the club wherever they were playing, and on the park the team was playing magnificent football and in later years would be labelled as one of the best club sides in Australian football history.
During this decade, Sydney Olympic won two NSL Cups against Heidelberg United in 1983 and against Preston Lions in 1985 and was runner-up in two other NSL Cup Finals, losing against Adelaide City in 1989 and South Melbourne in 1990. This period also saw three heartbreaking NSL Grand Final losses, against South Melbourne FC in 1984, Adelaide City in 1986 and Marconi Stallions in 1989.

During the years between 1982–92, Olympic finished in the top half on the league ladder every season.

The 1990s began on the right foot for the club and a year after Sydney Olympic’s 1989 NSL Grand Final loss against Marconi, The 1990 season saw Olympic meet Marconi again in the Grand Final. This time Olympic succeeded by beating Marconi 2–0 before a then record NSL crowd of 26,353. Scorers that day were Alistair Edwards and Robert Ironside either side of half-time.

In defense of their title in season 1990/91, Sydney Olympic endured an inconsistent season, which came down to the last match of the regular season in what became a pre-Finals Series playoff against 6th placed Parramatta Melita. Sitting in 5th, a draw would have been enough for Olympic to finish in the top 5 and qualify for the Finals, but a late Parramatta goal ensured Olympic would succumb to a 1-0 loss and were leapfrogged into the top 5 by Parramatta.

The next few seasons were inconsistent for Olympic.

For season 1995/96, Sydney Olympic formed a prosperous partnership with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and became known as UTS Sydney Olympic. During that time, the Club’s home ground was Leichhardt Oval, 1995/96 also saw Olympic finish 3rd on the ladder 1 point behind eventual Minor Premiers and old foes Marconi, making the Finals again Olympic eventually were eliminated by Adelaide City.

A change of home ground awaited the Blues going into season 1996/97. Belmore Sports Ground, in the more traditional heartland of Olympic, became the Club’s new home. In April 1997, Sydney Olympic enjoyed a record home attendance at Belmore of 16,724 against Marconi. The 1990s also saw the club’s worst defeat in 1998 when the Canberra Cosmos inflicted an 8–1 loss on Sydney Olympic in the nation’s capital.

During season 1998/99 Sydney Olympic was involved in a match which attracted the largest crowd for any regular NSL season match excluding finals. That game was against the Northern Spirit at North Sydney Oval in what was the Spirit’s debut match in the NSL. That evening, 18,985 soccer-loving enthusiasts turned out to watch Sydney Olympic defeat new boys Northern Spirit 2–0. Olympic golden boys Chris Kalantzis and Pablo Cardozo were the goal scorers.

Sydney Olympic’s biggest win was a remarkable 6–0 defeat of South Melbourne in the 1999/2000 season at Belmore Sports Ground.

​The 2000s saw Olympic’s fortunes take an upturn, starting with their biggest ever NSL win, a 6–0 defeat of South Melbourne in January 2000 at Belmore Sports Ground. The club would again make the Finals that season, finishing in 5th place. During the Finals Series Olympic would beat Adelaide City over 2 legs, but would go on to lose to Carlton SC in extra-time for a spot in the Preliminary Final.

Season 2000/01 saw Sydney Olympic finish 4th on the competition ladder. During the Finals, Olympic made it through to the Preliminary Final, losing 2–0 against Minor Premiers South Melbourne.

Season 2001/02 saw the club move base again, this time to the Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s south, an area with no NSL representation, but a large base of registered junior players to potentially tap into. Olympic played out of Toyota Park. The move had also involved a change of name from Sydney Olympic to Olympic Sharks with the traditional blue and white colours of the club still in place. This season also saw Olympic capture their second NSL title, a lone Ante Milicic goal being enough to defeat Perth Glory at Subiaco Oval in front of 42,000 fans.

The 2002/03 season saw Olympic win its first ever Minor Premiership by finishing on top of the NSL ladder, which eventually led to Olympic’s second consecutive appearance in a Grand Final. This time however, it would be Perth who would take out the title, winning 2–0.

Despite the on field successes, the move to the Sutherland Shire was short-lived. Poor attendances took their toll on the venture and for season 2003/04 the club chose to revert to the widely preferred name of Sydney Olympic and moving to OKI Jubilee Stadium at Kogarah.

​Following the demise of the NSL in 2004, Sydney Olympic participated in the 2004/05 NSW Premier League season and just missed out on the Finals Series.

In 2006 Sydney Olympic returned to Belmore Sports Ground and also forged a relationship with the Eastern Suburbs Soccer Football Association. The club had a mid-table finish of 6th.

2007 was a special year for Sydney Olympic as it celebrated its 50th anniversary, with the club’s jersey reverting to the original blue and white vertical striped design. On the field it would turn out to be a forgettable year with the club ending the season in 9th spot.

In the 2008 season under the stewardship of former player Milan Blagojevic, the club laid the platform for what would be a successful season by capturing the 2008 pre-season Johnny Warren Cup with a gutsy 2–1 win over the Sutherland Sharks. During the regular season, Sydney Olympic finished 3rd on the ladder, in the ensuing Finals Series Olympic were stopped 1 game short of that season’s Grand Final losing in the Preliminary Final. The 2008 season also saw Olympic make the Waratah Cup Final, only to lose that Final.

For the 2009 season Sydney Olympic finished a disappointing 8th and in 2010 equaled their worst ever league finish, ending the season in 2nd last spot.

In the 2011 New South Wales Premier League season, Sydney Olympic with a new coaching staff and many new players finished in 1st place, finishing four points clear of Sydney rivals Sydney United. In the Finals Series Olympic beat Sydney United 2–0 in the Semi Final and beat them again by the same score in the Grand Final and went on to become the 2011 New South Wales Premier League Champions.
2012 saw Sydney Olympic finish 2nd in the NSW Premier League, and in 2013 finished a disappointing 7th.

On 1 March 2014, former Greek international centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos signed for the club on a 2 game contract. Sotirios was officially unveiled as a Sydney Olympic player at a press conference at the Alpha Restaurant in Sydney. Kyrgiakos stated in the press conference; “It’s a beautiful thing for me to come to Sydney and play football in Australia. I wanted to have this experience and this opportunity was available for a handful of games and that’s really it, that was the proposal from the club. I will be thrilled to get to know Australian football and experience it and it’s very significant that I’m coming to a very historic club with great Greek support”.

Sotirios made his debut for the club on the 23rd of March 2014 in round 2 of their NSW State League match against Blacktown Spartans at Belmore Sports Ground where they lost 3–1. The 2014 season saw Sydney Olympic surge once again finishing 4th in the regular season, before embarking on an amazing Finals run, winning 3 sudden death matches in succession and making it all the way to the NSW NPL Grand Final, only to lose 2–1 to Blacktown City. In 2014 Sydney Olympic also featured in the FFA Cup Round of 16 only to be defeated 2–1 by Bentleigh Greens after a compressed end of year schedule eventually took its toll on the team.

In 2015 Sydney Olympic finished 4th in the regular season after a resurgent final leg saw the team win 5 straight including a Round 20, 4–0 demolition of eventual 2015 Premiers Blacktown City. After a convincing 2–0 victory in the first week of the Finals against South Coast Wolves the team set up a second week elimination semi final showdown against rivals APIA. After a slow and nervous first half which saw APIA take the lead from a deflection, Sydney Olympic couldn’t capitalise on a string of great opportunities in the second half to equalise, seeing the team eliminated, going down 1–0. In 2015 Sydney Olympic again qualified for the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup but were disappointingly eliminated following a 3–1 loss to Hume City FC, missing out for the second year in a row on a spot in the FFA Cup Quarter Finals.

Club Honours

  • NSL Champions 1989-90, 2001-02, 2018
  • NSL Premiers 2002-03, 2018
  • NSL Cup 1983, 1985
  • New South Wales Champions 1980, 2011
  • Ampol Cup Winners 1980
  • Johnny Warren Cup Winners 2008

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