Peter Raskopoulos was born on the 22nd of February 1962 Kastoria, Greece. It wasn’t until Raskopoulos was around the age of two that his family migrated in the mid 1960’s to Sydney, Australia. Raskopoulos first started his football career by playing his youth years at Earlwood Wanderers before being signed in 1975 at the age of 13.5 to play at Pan Hellenic for their third-grade team. When Pan Hellenic in 1977 changed their name to Sydney Olympic at just 15 years of age; Raskopoulos made his senior debut on the 8th of August 1977 against Western Suburbs in the first season of the National Soccer League and was at the time NSL youngest debutant. In 1978 Raskopoulos represented the All Australian Schoolboys Touring Team that travelled to America and Canada. In the same year he was offered a position from Manchester United. But this offer was turned down by Raskopoulos’ opposed mother and Raskopoulos himself did not hear about the offer until a year later. Raskopoulos in 1979 was also a part of the Under 20s Australian team. In 1979 Sydney Olympic was relegated from the NSL to State League and in 1980 Marconi paid which was considered at the time a record transfer fee of $15,000 for Raskopoulos. But in 1981 Raskopoulos wanted to return to his Greek roots and returned to Sydney Olympic for the duration of his career. In 1980, Raskopoulos made his debut in an International for Australia at the 1980 OFC Nations cup competing against New Caledonia and Tahiti. On the 30th of August 1981 at age of 19, Raskopoulos captained the Socceroos in his full international debut for Australia against Indonesia’s National Football Team in Jakarta. Being regarded as the youngest player in history to ever captain the Socceroos. In 1981 at the FIFA World Youth Championship, held in Australia. Raskopoulos captained the Young Socceroo team. His role as a leader drove the Australian team from midfield as they shocked the world champion Argentinean team with two goals to one on their opening match. It is to be noted that Raskopoulos’ leadership of his 1981 World Youth team will be highly regarded as a poignant moment of his Soccer Career. It was the first time ever during this Championship that Australia qualified in the quarter finals. But Australia lost out to Germany, the eventual winner, by a single goal. In 1982 Raskopoulos was a part of the Socceroo team that won the inaugural invitation only Merlion Cup held in Singapore. In 1984, Raskopoulos participated in the ‘World Series’ tournament With Australia’s Team A that pitted Australia’s A and B teams against clubs such as Manchester United, Glasgow Rangers, Nottingham Forest, Juventus and Iraklis. In the same year Raskopoulos won NSL player of the year. In 1986 Raskopoulos missed the FIFA world cup qualifying campaign due to injuries. But he made a triumphant return in matches against Czechoslovakia and New Zealand in 1986. Plus, a variety of other matches in 1987 against Everton, South Korea and others. His final cap was in 1989 against Malmo. Raskopoulos played his last game for the Socceroo’s in 1989 having begun playing for Australia in 1980. In 1990 Raskopoulos became the youngest manager of a Winning NSL team when Sydney Olympic beat Marconi in the Grand Final at Paramatta stadium. In 1991 Raskopoulos returned back to his business ventures as owner of The Rasko Group. It was not until 2000 when Nick Politis approached Raskopoulos and asked him to take over Sydney Olympic as CEO that Raskopoulos would come back into a managerial position within the Soccer community. In 2001/2002 after Raskopoulos restructured Sydney Olympics coaching and playing staff. Sydney Olympic with the youngest NSL squad in history went on to win the Grand Final beating Perth Glory at Subiaco Oval, Perth. In 2002/2003 Sydney Olympic won Olympics the Minor premiership.
It is beyond any doubt that Peter Raskopoulos is a Greek who will go down in history in the Australian soccer community not only for his skills as a Sydney Olympic star, youth international and Socceroo player but also his executive and managerial expertise as a manager and CEO of his beloved Greek club Sydney Olympic. These achievements of Raskopoulos’ are represented through being a life member at Marconi and Sydney Olympic. As well as being in the hall of fame at Sydney Olympic. In 2016 Peter Raskopoulos received an astonishing achievement of being inducted into the Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame. Needless to say, Peter Raskopoulos is regarded highly within the Greek and Australian community for his unbelievable efforts.
FFA CEO David Gallop (L) inducts Peter Raskopoulos into the FFA Hall of Fame. Photos: ffa.com.au