Giovanni Morelli - League Of Champions inductee

Giovanni Morelli - League Of Champions inductee

The Desert Sports Foundation in Alice Springs has two purposes.  It provides financial assistance to junior athletes, under the age of 18 to pursue representative sporting opportunities intrastate, interstate and overseas.  The second thing that the Foundation does is recognise local sports men and women and their commitment to their sport. 

Last night at the Desert Sports Foundation dinner, Gio Morelli was inducted into the League of Champions for his commitment to football.  There were many nominations, and Gio was one of only 10 people across all sporting codes in Alice Springs to be inducted.  Some others inducted last night include Greg McAdam, Lance White, Tony Connor and Tavis Johansen. 

The evening was a complete surprise to Gio, with everyone keeping the award a secret for the past two months.  In support of Gio was his family and a few of us from the sport, with Gio receiving the recognition he deserves for his many years of commitment to football in Alice Springs. 

A huge congratulations to Gio on his recognition last night.  Neither Football in Alice Springs or the Verdi Football Club wouldn’t be where it is today without the likes of Gio playing, coaching, coordinating, refereeing, mentoring, line marking, and doing all the maintenance that he has done for so many years and continues to do.
Giovanni Morelli is a born and bred Alice Springs man, and started playing football at the age of 6. Moving through age divisions In his junior years, Giovanni represented both Alice Springs and the Northern Territory in representative teams.  

In his early years on the pitch, Giovanni joined the Verdi Soccer Club, and was a member of development teams that travelled nationally and internationally, in order to achieve a higher quality of play. 

The Verdi Soccer club was first established in 1970.  In the early 1980’s, as  a young adult, Giovanni re-established the Verdi Soccer Club as what it is today.  Currently, the Verdi Soccer Club is one of the longest running, and most successful Clubs, with a full compliment of junior and senior players.  The running of the Club was always a family concern, with Giovanni at the helm.  Giovanni was always on hand to assist junior and senior players, mentor coaches and fill any void whenever it arose. 

Over the last couple of years, whilst still a very active player and coordinator for Verdi, Giovanni has studied for his Football Federation Australia C Class Coaching Licence, and has coached the last two Alice Springs teams playing against Adelaide United when they visited Alice Springs.   Giovanni has also participated in the last few Masters’ Games, both as a player, and in volunteering his time to mark pitches, referee and assist across the board with the event. 

In terms of his volunteer work for soccer in Alice Springs, the list is endless.  As a member on the Board of Football in Central Australia, Giovanni was an integral part of the coordinating the sport in Alice Springs for many years.    His efforts in this regard earned him the honour of a Life Membership of the sport several years ago.  The Football Federation Northern Territory have now taken over football operations in Alice Springs.  Even so, Giovanni is still very proactive with repairs and maintenance down at the grounds.  It is Giovanni that installs goals each season, and makes running repairs on a regular basis.  If anything needs doing, he is only ever a phone call away.  In regards to his knowledge, it is invaluable.  If background is needed, Giovanni is the go-to man and if an extra pair of hands is needed, you can always count on Giovanni.  He continues to be a very active referee across the sport, and mentors both senior and junior referees to be the very best that they can.  Giovanni has linemarked the pitches for several years, a job that takes up to 5 hours a week.

Today, in his early 50’s,  Giovanni continues to coordinate the Verdi Football Club, play in the senior competition, linemark pitches and be a match referee.  He continues to commit his time to repairs and maintenance at the soccer facilities, and ensure the best possible environment for the sport. Giovanni is the most respected player, referee, and person in the Alice Springs soccer community.  All sports in Alice Springs rely heavily on their volunteers, and football is no different.  Without a doubt, football in Alice Springs would not be what it is today without Giovanni Morelli.