One of the longest serving committee members of the Western Australian Women’s Soccer Association (WAWSA). ‘Barbi’, as she was affectionately known to friends and family, was introduced to sport by Peter Dimopoulos in 1972 and played her first game of soccer at Inglewood Kiev in her 40’s. It was established that she would not make the Australian team and henceforth became a solid advocate for women’s soccer via her partnership with Peter, who was equally passionate about providing opportunities for the girls to play. Enter the raffle ticket and lamington drives, where the family garage hosted many state team players and events where the team did their bit to raise funds for state trips under the recognised ‘pay as you go’ system.
Barbara first served as Secretary on the WAWSA committee in 1975, joining the committee the same year as Peter Dimopoulos and serving in the years 1977 and 1979 through to 1985. During her term, Barbara’s role was sometimes dual Secretary and Treasurer. In all but 1975, she was Manager of the senior State Women’s Soccer Team through to her retirement. International tours that Barbara managed included the 1977 WA tour to Malaysia and in 1980 to India and Singapore.
She was elected as President of the WAWSA in 1986 and represented WA at all delegates meetings held by the Australian Women’s Soccer Association (AWSA). In 1986 she obtained a position as Assistant Secretary with the Soccer Federation of WA, forcing her to resign from the WAWSA in 1987 due to conflict of interests and time clashes.
In the year 1996 Barbara was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA, along with Peter Dimopoulos and Oscar Mate for their services to women’s soccer in the mid 70s to 80s and in the year 2000, Barbara was acknowledged by the Australian Government and the Queen, with an Australian Sports medal for her services to sport.
Courtesy ‘Women’s Soccer, No Longer A Gentleman’s Game’ Penny Tanner, Gibson Family.
Photos: Profile shot courtesy Football Hall of Fame Western Australia, Barbara Gibson and Beryl Miles State Team Tour courtesy Jae (Jude) Pettitt