Adelaide product awarded 2024 Dylan Tombides Medal: ‘I’m extremely honoured’

Former Adelaide United midfielder Louis D’Arrigo has been awarded the Dylan Tombides Medal for his exemplary commitment to and performances as an Australia’s youth international.

The prestigious award was first introduced in 2019 by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Australia, and is bestowed to a player who has exemplified high standards, commitment and courage while representing the Joeys, Young Socceroos or Olyroos.

The medal is named in honour of Dylan Tombides, a former Australian youth international who tragically passed away at just 20 years of age in 2014, after a three-year battle with testicular cancer.

On the books at West Ham United and a highly-rated Australian prospect at the time of his passing, Tombides’ legacy lives on through the DT38 Foundation, the Dylan Tombides Medal, and in the hearts and memories of Australian football fans to whom Tombides is much-loved and sorely missed.

D’Arrigo is the latest recipient of the Dylan Tombides Medal; the 22-year-old left Adelaide United at the end of the 2022-23 Isuzu UTE A-League season to join Polish club Lechia Gdansk, where he made 22 appearances in his first campaign to help the club to a first-place finish in the I Liga, which earned promotion to the Polish first-tier.

While his club career flourished, the central midfielder was busy on the international scene. He became a key member of the Olyroos squad and shone in the 2023 Maurice Revello Tournament in France; D’Arrigo says being recognised by the PFA and FA with the Dylan Tombides Medal was a special achievement.

“I’m extremely honoured to receive the Dylan Tombides Medal. It means a lot to be recognised by the coaches in this way, given the values this award represents,” D’Arrigo said.

“I was quite young when Dylan was playing, but through Football Australia, the PFA and DT38, I’ve been able to learn more about Dylan and the type of player and person he was.

“Dylan is someone who was held in high esteem by the football community. The character he showed playing in junior national teams during his cancer treatment is something that’s hard for me to comprehend – it shows just how much passion he had for representing Australia.

“It’s always an honour to represent your national team at any level and something I never take for granted. Whenever I stepped onto the pitch wearing the jersey, I felt that I expressed its values and demonstrated a passion for the game. To have even been considered for this medal, let alone now join the company of previous winners, is really special for me.”

Louis D’Arrigo.

Olyroos head coach Tony Vidmar has watched D’Arrigo go from strength to strength in Australia’s U23 international setup and believes his selection as a Dylan Tombides Medalist is a deserved reward.

“When we came together to discuss the recipient of the medal, Louis stood out to our group of coaches immediately,” Vidmar said.

“He’s been exceptional throughout his time with the U-23s and is widely respected amongst the playing group.

“The way Louis carries himself on and off the pitch is a credit to him and a big part of what’s made him so successful. His role as a leader amongst this group and the way he helps to drive our standards can’t be understated.

“He’s got such a passion for representing Australia and it’s something that motivates the people around him. Louis is a very deserving winner of this award and I’m extremely proud of what he’s been able to achieve within our development pathway and in his club career.”

D’Arrigo with Olyroos head coach Tony Vidmar.

D’Arrigo joins previous Dylan Tombides Medalists Noah Botic and Harry Souttar in receiving the honour since its inception in 2019.

DT38 Head of Media and Operations Donna Giuffre congratulated D’Arrigo on his achievement whilst summarising the significance of the medal in the context of honouring Tombides’ legacy.

“DT38 is immensely proud of this accolade, as it not only commemorates Dylan’s legacy but also continues to raise awareness for testicular cancer and promote men’s health through the platform of football,” Giuffre said.

“It’s great to see so many young footballers who may have not known Dylan personally be inspired by his story and memory.

“We thank the PFA and the FA for their continued support, and we would like to congratulate Louis and wish him all the best in his footballing journey.”

Click here to find out more about DT38.