Western Australia has produced some outstanding footballers over the years and many have taken the route to the top via the West Ham United academy. One such player hoping to follow in the path of Stan Lazarides and Richard Garcia was Dylan Tombides.
It therefore comes as a huge shock to hear that his life has come to an end at the tender age of 20.
Tombides played youth team football with Stirling Lions in Western Australia and joined West Ham United aged 15. He Played for West Ham in their reserve team and was named in the first team to make his Premier League debut on 22 May 2011 versus Sunderland but remained an unused substitute.
In 2011 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer which was discovered following a random drugs test taken after he had played for Australia U-17 team in a 4-0 defeat against Uzbekistan at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico.
In June 2012, he was told he was back to full health and returned to training. He celebrated in style making his professional debut on 25 September 2012 for West Ham in a 4–1 home loss against Wigan Athletic in the League Cup. He came on as an 84th minute substitute. It was to be his only appearance.
Sadly the cancer returned and he was forced to miss the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, due to having to undergo surgery as part of his on-going battle with the disease. Everything looked to be on track as he was one of seven overseas based players in Aurelio Vidmar’s 23-man squad for the 2014 AFC U-22 Championships in Oman in January. It was a tournament, he hoped would help him stake a claim to be part of Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup squad, before heading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Regrettably for fans of the game it was not to be. Today he lost his long battle with cancer and Australia lost a talent that was yet to shine on the world stage. Yet judging by the comments already coming from his club he touched the lives of many, and will hopefully not be forgotten.
Our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and team mates.
West Ham United will show their respect with a minute’s applause ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace at the Boleyn Ground. The players will also wear black armbands in his memory.
Rest in Peace.