Kotsiras’ life dream comes true
A lifelong dream of playing for the Greek national team came true for 26-year-old Asteras Tripolis defender Giannis Kotsiras. AGONAsport’s Athan Stylos takes a closer look at his footballing journey.
Angelos Anastasiadis named his 25-man squad for the Ethniki’s upcoming friendly against Turkey (May 30) as well two important European qualifiers against Italy (June 8) and Armenia (June 11). The surprise inclusion was none other than 26-year-old Giannis Kotsiras of Asteras Tripolis.
The right-back had a consistent season for Asteras Tripolis where he made a total of 36 appearances across the league, Cup, and Europa League, while providing three assists. This season’s solid displays along with his persistence and hard work have paid off for the defender after flying under the radar in past years.
Born in Megalopoli, Kotsiras started his footballing career in the youth academy at Asteras Tripolis. Over the years, he has faced several challenges and difficulties in his life, including the death of his father when he was 16 years of age, which changed Kotsiras’ whole perspective on life. He received a degree in Business Administration while continuing to follow his passion of football.
His senior footballing career began in Greece’s local divisions when he signed for Doxa Megalopolis. He moved to AO Falesias in 2011, before making the switch to local Tripoli side, Panarkadikos, in 2014. In July of 2016, Kotsiras made a big career jump to professional football by signing with Asteras Tripolis and his hard work earned him a contract extension with the Arkades which will keep him in Tripoli until 2022.
During the week, Kotsiras received the nod from Ethniki coach Angelos Anastasiadis and was called-up to the national team for the first time in his career. He is currently training with the Galanolefki in Holland as the players prepare for their friendly against Turkey on May 30th and upcoming European qualifiers against Italy and Armenia.
His story is one that can inspire many footballers in Greece. After spending most of his professional career in Greece’s lower divisions, Kotsiras took his chance to shine at the professional level with Asteras Tripolis and received the ultimate prize for his patience, a call-up to the national team.
After his selection into the 25-man Ethniki squad, Kotsiras said that this achievement to represent his country was "an honour and a dream of life that has become a reality.”
Kotsiras could receive his first cap at the international level in May 30th’s friendly away to Turkey.