Olyroos midfielder Louis D’Arrigo has been recognised by Football Australia and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) with the Dylan Tombides Medal.

The Dylan Tombides Medal is awarded to a player selected from within Australia’s youth international teams, the Joeys, Young Socceroos and Olyroos, who exemplifies the standards, commitment, and courage in representing Australia at youth international level, honouring the memory of the late Dylan Tombides. 

Tombides, a former Australian youth international, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 after a random drug test at the under-17 FIFA World Cup uncovered a tumour in one of his testicles. 

Tombides courageously fought the illness, playing matches during his cancer treatment for three years, including debuting at English Premier League club West Ham United. Tragically, Tombides passed away with his family by his side on 18 April 2014 at the age of 20. This year marks ten years since Tombides’ passing. 

Throughout 2024, DT38 Australia, a charity organisation established in Tombides’ memory, continues to honour Dylan’s legacy through its work in the football community, including at the Socceroos’ recent 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Palestine in Perth.

“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 Australia 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.” 

D’Arrigo made the move from A-League Men’s side Adelaide United to Polish side Lechia Gdansk in the 2023 off-season, making 22 appearances in all competitions for Gdansk, helping them to a first-place finish in the I Liga and promotion to the Polish first tier, the Ekstraklasa. 

D’Arrigo also made several appearances for the Olyroos during this period, including playing a key role at the Maurice Revello Tournament last June.

Olyroos coach Tony Vidmar added that D’Arrigo was an obvious choice for the award when it was considered by Football Australia’s youth team coaches.

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

Louis D’Arrigo pictured with Olyroos coach Tony Vidmar. Image: Stuart Kerr

Previous recipients of the Dylan Tombides Medal include Western United’s Noah Botic – the inaugural winner in 2019 – and Socceroos defender Harry Souttar (2022). 

Donna Giuffre, Head of Media and Operations at DT38 Foundation Australia, said the medal not only celebrated the character and values of Australia’s leading youth players, but was critical in celebrating the legacy of Dylan Tombides and men’s health.

“DT38 Australia 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.

“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.” 

To learn more about Dylan’s story or the work of DT38 Australia, head to dt38.org

Please click here to donate in support of DT38 Australia’s testicular cancer education and awareness programs

Featured image: Stuart Kerr