Wangaratta City stalwart Steve Siperki still representing club on the field at 63 years of age

LOCAL PRIDE: Steve Siperki is the ultimate club man, having devoted more than 40 years to the Wangaratta City Football Club. Picture MARK JESSER
LOCAL PRIDE: Steve Siperki is the ultimate club man, having devoted more than 40 years to the Wangaratta City Football Club. Picture MARK JESSER

It’s not every day you head out onto the field and find yourself up against a 63-year-old.

But for the teams in the Albury Wodonga Football Association’s over 35 competition, it’s a regular occurence when they take on Wangaratta City, the pride and joy of Steve Siperki.

The club stalwart is proving to everyone that age is no barrier as he lines up almost every week for Wangaratta’s over 35s team.

To top it off, Siperki also coaches the side, as well as the club’s reserves, before backing up to assist senior men’s coach Connor Heffernan from the sidelines.

Siperki was born in Greece before migrating to Melbourne as a young man, where he lived for 12 years.

He made to move to Wangaratta in 1974 and has been involved in all things local soccer ever since.

Siperki admits he still enjoys the game as much today as he did when he first started.

“I’ve been involved in the game for many years, I hadn’t played for a while and when my son went to uni I stopped playing and took up golf,” he said.

“Then my grandson came onto the scene and I joined the club again by coaching the over 35s, playing in the over 35s, coaching the reserves and assisting the seniors.

“It’s a good distraction for me, otherwise what else would I do?

“You go home, sit on the couch and get up with a sore back, I’d rather be running on the green grass.”

Like many others, Siperki’s involvement with Wangaratta City Football Club started through his children and the passion continued to blossom from there.

“Now I’ve got all this experience, it would be a shame to waste it from the point-of-view of mentoring the young players,” he said.

“But above all, it’s beneficial for me too.

“I think it’s the elixir of youth when your around the young people rather than playing keno in the pub.”

Siperki has been involved in plenty of success with the Devils and was a former coach of Albury-Wodonga junior representative sides for many years.

“I just love the game, that’s why we’re here,” he added.

“A lot of people ask me on a cold night, what are you going here Steve at your age? But I could think of a lot worse things.

“When I’m playing, they refer to me as the young fella, ‘I’m marking the young fella’, they’re very polite.

“I used to wear number 10 in my earlier years and now when they say watch out for number 10, I still turn around.”