In one of the biggest midseason National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s transfers for 2019, APIA Leichhardt Tigers have secured the signature of former Sydney United 58 skipper Nick Stavroulakis for the remainder of the season.
The 34-year-old midfield war-horse, who spent five seasons at Edensor Park where he made over 100 appearances for the former NSL giants, as well as lifting two Waratah Cups a Premiership and National Premier Leagues Finals Series title during his time, was told that he was not part of the clubs plans for the remainder of the season.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers coach John Calleja seized on the opportunity and snapped up Stavroulakis where he hopes he can further bolster his midfield alongside the likes of Adrian Ucchino, Corey Biczo, Franco Parisi and Sam Mcillhatton as well as use his experience in nurturing the good crop of youngsters coming through the Tigers youth system.
Stavroulakis becomes the second player to move from Edensor Park to Lambert Park as striker Chris Payne made the off-season switch with the striker settling in well in his new surroundings having scored twelve goals in twelve matches.
An emotional Stavroulakis wanted to finish out the season with United 58 but it wasn’t to be for the tough tackling midfielder.
“I wanted to retire there.
“I spent five glorious years at the club, made so many lifelong friends played with some amazing players and really enjoyed playing for the most passionate fans of our competition.
“The SUS fans were brilliant and always got behind me with everything I did.
“I will never forget my time there and I will cherish the memories I had with them forever.
“I leave with my head held high and wish the club and players nothing but the best for the rest of the NPL NSW Men’s season.”
Ironically, Stavroulakis joins a club that back in 2015, fate had it that the midfielder survived a near death experience after bursting a blood vessel in the brain in a FFA Cup Preliminary fixture at Edensor Park against the Tigers, a moment he will never forget.
“It’s certainly something that still to this day is spoken about but a moment I am so glad I am here to tell the story today,” said the ‘warrior’, a nickname given to him after the ordeal.
“The club were super supportive as were the fans of United 58 and for that I will always hold them with the highest regard.
“I knew I had to get back to playing and made it a point that I wanted to overcome that obstacle in my life to do what I have always loved and that’s playing football – I did achieve that and got back onto that playing pitch and was determined enough to have won silverware with the club.”
Stavroulakis believes the signing at APIA is just another chapter in his playing career that he will only further benefit from.
“Football is all about experiences and APIA Leichhardt Tigers are giving me that opportunity to assist with the club’s objective in winning silverware this year.
“APIA is a very proud club and have produced some quality players both past and present throughout their time in the Australian game.
“Franco Parisi played a big role in me coming to the side as he was the one that convinced me that APIA would be the best fit for me.
“I just want to give it my all and ensure that the club gets that elusive Premiership and Championship.”
Stavroulakis is currently completing his FFA ‘B’ Coaching Licence at the AIS and will be back for APIA Leichhardt Tigers’ round 14 clash against Sutherland Sharks at Lambert Park on Sunday 9th of June.