- Tell us a little bit about yourself, background, where you grew up etc?
I was born in RPA hospital in 1963 and lived in Sydenham in my early years before moving to Ashfield after the age of 8.
- What are your first recollections of playing football?
My first recollections are playing with my local Police boys club at the age of 8, before moving to Apia at age 12 (I was in the year below Tony Raciti).
- Did you manage to play any level of professional/representative football and when did you finish?
I signed my first NSL contract with Sydney City at the age of 15 and had great players around me like Steve O’Connor and the late Murray Barnes who took me under their wing and guided and helped me progress as a player.
When I look at it now, I was lucky. I also had the talent and people who believed in me. Gerry Chaldi, who was an Israeli international, saw me play for the NSW team and invited me to join Sydney City. I did not have to play in the 16s, 17s, 18s and reserves … I went straight into the first team.
I also played for Sydney Olympic and Sydney Croatia before moving to AEK Athens overseas for 8 seasons as well as playing for the Socceroo’s which is the ultimate achievement for any player.
- When and why did you first get into coaching?
When I retired I came back to Ashbury in Sydney’s inner west, I got into coaching juniors because of my son. I spent this time coaching Inter Lions at Concord two times a week. After a few years I coached the seniors at National Premier League clubs like Canterbury Bankstown and Dulwich Hill. At the moment I coach Sydney Olympic 20’s as well as the u/9’s SAP which keeps me very busy.
- What has been your greatest personal and coaching achievement in football?
Personal achievement is playing overseas for AEK and for the Socceroo’s, coaching has been with the Canterbury Berries, Dulwich Hill and the Sydney Uni women’s premier team which have all given me a lot of joy and success.
You have coached many teams at NPL level and now you’re the coach of the Sydney Olympic 20’s and the u/9s SAP. Tell us a little about what a week in the coaching life of Jimmy Patikas usually entails?
Coaching the SAP kids 3 times a week as well as the 20’s at Olympic. Game day involves getting to the park at 7am and leaving at 3 pm when SAP finishes.
U/20s usually play at 5pm when it’s an afternoon game and then I stay to watch the 1st grade play as well.
- Did you or do you have any coaching role models you look up to or base your coaching philosophy on?
I was coached by many great coaches like Rudi Gutendorf, Joe Vlatsis, Eddie Thomson, Les Scheinflug and Frank Arok.
I like to think that I took the best attributes of them all, added them to my way of playing and developed my own style and philosophy.
- What coaching ambitions do you aspire to achieve in the future?
I’m happy coaching youngsters at the moment and hopefully developing stars of the future.
- You’ve played with many great players over the years. Can you tell us some of their names and what set them apart from the others?
I played with so many domestically to name, but of the overseas stars I played against, so many famous players in Greece and in European club football. Romario, Jean-Pierre Papin, Jean Tigana, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Daniel Passarella, Alessandro Altobelli, Giuseppe Bergomi are just a few that spring to mind.
All of them had a great attitude to training, worked hard on and off the pitch, prepared really well and had a certain “aura and presence” about them.
- Finally, what message do you have for all the kids out there who want to chase their footballing dreams?
Work hard, don’t let knock backs get you down, keep going. At the age of 14, I tried out for a rep team and didn’t make it, a year and a half later at 15 and a half I made the young Socceroo’s team and at 17 one of the youngest Socceroo’s ever.