It’s highly unusual to encounter twins playing for the same team, but that is the case for the Gerontaras brothers.
Thanks to the efforts of manager Kostas Tagkalakis, the three brothers – Giorgos, Marios and Stefanos – will be part of the same team for the first time since 2015. Born in Athens on the 14 August 2000, the three brothers came to Melbourne in July 2012 with their parents, Stelios and Eirini, who came to the country in the hope of a better life for themselves. The triplets were almost immediately drawn into football.
Their first experience was in the Play Park academy of Ano Liosia in Athens under their father’s supervision, who was an UEFA-licensed youth coach. That’s where they learned the fundamentals of the sport, and just before they left Athens they had the opportunity of visiting the AEK academies and training under former legend Tony Savevski.
“Football education in Greece is on another level (compared to Australia.) At a premature age, it helped them gain responsive, anticipation, decision and reception skills – what we call a neuromuscular junction,” says father Stelios Gerontaras.
The family then decided to move to the Rowville area and the kids enrolled at the nearby Sports Academy, where they had the chance to continue their development for two hours each day after school, under the watchful eye of former Perth Glory assistant manager, Ian Greener and former NPL managers, Stuart Munro and Bobby McLachlan.
Their progress is going well and it wasn’t long before the boys decided to take the next step and move to the Caulfield Cobras where their father was coach and could understand their play style well.
“George is able to maintain a level head during play, Stefanos is incredibly fast and Marios is really tough,” says the proud father.
In their first season in the under-12’s they managed to win the league with the Cobras, under their father’s guidance. After that, they moved to the Oakleigh Cannons and the 2013 season would be the last time they would all play for the same club for quite a while.
Stefanos and Marios continued at Chisholm United while George went after the A-League dream, joining up with the Melbourne City academies where he was momentarily teammates with Aussie wonderboy Daniel Arzani. After a run of two seasons, he decided to join up with South Melbourne, with his two brothers playing for Kingston.
The presence of Kostas Tagkalakis at the club and the promise of first-team football was what eventually convinced the final of the three brothers, George, to join up with the club and once again play with his two twin brothers.
It’s also a big asset for the Greek coach to have them in his squad as they are able to play on multiple positions inside the pitch.
More specifically, George can play as a left or right back, as a winger or as an attacking midfielder, Stefanos who has speed as his greatest quality can play all the positions on the flanks while Marios can play all positions in defence.