Australian sport has many examples of families of elite athletes, from the Campbell sisters in the pool to Mark and Sarah Blicavs in AFL and Basketball.
The growing profile and professionalism of football has seen increasing examples of brothers, sisters, fathers and daughters enjoying careers and success with the round ball.
Emily & Gary van Egmond
The van Egmonds have been a presence in Australian football since Gary represented the country as a midfielder in the 1988 Olympics. Since then he has coached in the A-League for Newcastle and as an assistant coach to the Matildas up until 2019.
Currently, in charge of the Young Socceroo’s under 20 team, Gary van Egmond is responsible for the next generation and he played a part in Emily becoming one of the Matildas best players.
“I’m obviously very fortunate to have dad in the family with the experience that he has and how high of a level he's coached at. He's not going to lie to me if I have a bad game, he's always going to be truthful and honest and that's what I want -- I'd never want him to sugar-coat me because he's my dad,” said Emily to the Huffington Post in 2017.
One one of Australia’s most skilled and versatile midfielders, Emily currently splits her time between Melbourne City in the W-League and Orlando Pride in the NWSL, she has had a globe-trotting career, spanning FFC Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg in Germany, Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark and Chicago Red Stars in the U.S.A since debuting in the W-league in 2009 aged just 16 and making a name for herself at Canberra and Newcastle.
Emily enjoys having “one-up” on her father, telling the matildas.com.au prior the 2016 Olympics, “Me and Dad always used to have a bit of a joke that I was the only one who has been to a World Cup and he was the only one who has gone to (an Olympic) Games”.
Creative and composed with and capable of spectacular goals, Emily van Egmond also has a passing ability that allows her to control the play from deep midfield and provide a killer assist around goal.
Willing to sacrifice her game for the team she has been deployed in front of the defence although her best position is undoubtedly behind the strikers. She was unleashed in her favoured role in the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers with brilliant results scoring a hattrick against Thailand and a stunning last-minute equaliser against China.
In some football families, a father who played in Europe and has 20 years worth of management roles would be the star, but most football families don’t have somebody who can do the things Emily van Egmond can:
Emily and Gary training during COVID isolation
Princess and Bernie Ibini-Isei
Bernie Ibini-Isei enjoyed a spectacular early career with Central Coast Mariners, his explosive pace and scoring ability earning him a Young Socceroos call up and a big-money contract in the Chinese Super League with Shanghai East Asia by the time he was 21.
After his father’s sudden and tragic heart attack Bernie returned to Australia and the A-League, his priority became family and home.
Bernie’s return with Sydney FC resulted in scintillating form scoring seven goals including a scorcher against Perth Glory and being awarded a Socceroo’s cap that same year.
It was during that time that younger sister Princess Ibini-Isei credits him with providing the support that would help her become one of the W- Leagues most exciting young attackers.
In 2017 she made her senior Matildas debut against the U.S.A at the age of 17 making Bernie and Princess the first siblings to represent Australia as full international.
“He’s very supportive… I learned pretty much everything from him” Princess said told Sydney Morning Herald in 2015 and they both play a similar style of direct, dangerous, and fast football.
Both are capable of scoring from distance, or driving past players to cross or shoot.
Still only 20 years old, Princess will have to work hard to break into the star-studded Matildas' attack but she remains a consistent threat and a handful for defenders.
The departure of Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo could see her take a bigger role at Sydney FC next season and take the league by storm as her brother did at the same age.
Bernie Ibini vs Perth Glory 2014
Princes Ibini vs Adelaide 2019
The Petratos family
You could easily field a dominant five-a-side team made up completely of players from the Petratos household, Father Angelo played with Sydney Olympic in the NSL, while oldest son Olyroo Dimitri has represented Brisbane, Sydney FC and Newcastle where he was joined by younger brother Kosta and Maki in the A-league
Younger sister Panagiota Petratos at the age of 20 is beginning to make a name for herself in women's football, also at Newcastle, the young midfielder is steadily building a career to match her siblings.
Her highest-profile moment so far is probably a coolly taken last gasp winner against Adelaide United in the 2018/2019 season but with Newcastle currently focussing on youth, hopefully more highlights will follow.
Eric and Angelique Hristodoulou
Sydney FC’s 18-year-old fullback Angelique Hrisodoulou enjoyed a breakthrough 2019/20 season, continuing to build a career that started when her father, former NSL player Eric began training her as a child.
Angelique is a product of the Westfield Sports High School that has produced contemporaries like Princess Ibini and Ellie Carpenter, she captained Australia at the Under 17 World Cup and has a senior Matildas call up in her sights. She made her debut aged 15 for Western Sydney and despite an own goal in her first game, has gone from strength to strength since.
Eric played for Sydney Olympic alongside Angelique’s current manager Ante Juric and while the two are long time friends it is clear that Juric has a favourite.
“In context, Eric was a great player and let’s just say Ange will be better,” he told Neo Kosmos in 2017 and his faith in Angelique was clear as she played every minute of every game last season.
Able to play in defence or central midfield, Angelique Hristodoulou is a versatile, established player with an exciting future who will be a fixture in Australian football for years to come.
Laura, Matthew and Amelia Spiranovic
The Spiranovic’s collect medals with Victorian WPL honours, Champions league glory and Asian Cup success contributing to what would be an impressive family trophy cabinet.
Older brother and Socceroo central defender Matthew has had a storied career that has included the Bundesliga, J- League, and the A-league, he was vital to the historic Socceroo side that won the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil and the Western Sydney team that brought home the 2014 Asian Champions League.
He represented Australia 36 times, most prominently in the 2014 World Cup, where his experience and passing from defence helped win the side plaudits against highly rated opponents Chile, Holland and Spain.
Youngest sister Laura is well known to W-league fans where she represented Melbourne Victory first from 2011-2013 and then returning from 2015-2018, the centre forward was crucial in her second stint as Victory fielded a largely inexperienced side.
“She’s powerful and can score inside and outside the box with both feet. She’s quite dynamic,” is how English striker Jodie Taylor described Laura when she arrived at Victory and the Geelong born forward scored some important goals, memorably netting a late winner against Sydney FC in 2012.
Sisters Laura and Amelia found success with South Melbourne playing four seasons together and winning the Victorian Women’s Premier League in 2011. South Melbourne defeated Sandringham in the final with Laura claiming that season’s Golden Boot with 26 goals and Amelia lifting the trophy as captain.
After 69 games with Geelong Galaxy in the NPLW, Laura signed with Croatian club ŽNK Split in 2019, joining the exciting parade of Australian players forging careers in Europe.
Laura Spiranovic goal for Victory 2017
Farewell video and Geelong Galaxy highlights.