Football Australia is saddened to have learned of the passing of former Socceroo and inaugural Football Australia Hall of Fame inductee, Frank Parsons.
Parsons was the 107th player to be capped for Australia’s senior men’s national football team, making his debut against New Zealand on August 14, 1948 in Wellington.
Parsons featured in seven ‘A’ internationals for Australia between 1948 and 1951, scoring 15 goals, and played in 26 internationals for Australia all told, scoring a remarkable 49 goals.
Parsons scored a stunning six goals in an 8-1 friendly win over New Zealand on September 11, 1948 and sits fourth on Australia’s top goalscorers list for goals scored in all internationals.
As well as playing for Australia in New Zealand and on home soil, Parsons ventured to South Africa with the Socceroos in 1950. He played in two of the four fixtures held on the tour, with games being played in Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. On July 8, 1950, two goals in four minutes to Parsons in Port Elizabeth secured a 2-1 win for the green and gold.
An Adamstown Rosebud (Newcastle) junior and senior player, Parsons also represented Leichhardt-Annandale (Sydney) and New South Wales throughout his playing career.
Following his retirement as a player, Parsons served as an administrator within the game, holding a number of positions including as a Board Member and President of the NSW Football Federation.
Parsons was a passionate advocate for football, noting in an interview several years ago that he worked for the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC doing “whatever he could for soccer (football)”.
In the same interview, Parsons flagged that his motivations to move into football administration included a desire to see players remain connected with the sport following the conclusion of their playing careers.
“It was something I was determined to do,” he said. “My whinge was always about players playing the game, they retired and drifted away and we never saw them again. Players that I looked up to as a young fella, when I started to play with Adamstown for example, blokes who were ten years older than I was that you'd expect to still see around had disappeared. (They) didn't go to football, didn't take any interest in football, wouldn't come and help. Nobody wanted to go and get them and bring them back. Not only administration, but they could have started coaching."
Parsons was the Team Manager of the Socceroos in 1964 for games against touring English side Everton FC in Sydney and Melbourne, and was Team Manager of Australia again in 1970 for the Socceroos’ World Tour.
The World Tour saw an Australian squad coached by Rale Rasic and featuring Australian football greats including, but not limited to, Jack Reilly, Johnny Warren, Col Curran, Harry Williams, and Adrian Alston, play games in New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Macao, IR Iran, Israel, Greece, England, Ireland, and Mexico over the course of two months.
The Socceroos’ 1970 World Tour featured a mix of ‘A’ and ‘B’ internationals against national teams, clubs, and representative/select sides, and 51 years ago would have been an enormous logistical challenge to organise and undertake.
Parsons also oversaw New South Wales Representative and student team trips to New Caledonia in the 1960s.
Football aside, Parsons dedicated a significant period of his life to education as both a Teacher and Principal. Parsons left education in the early 1990s to run a cattle farm just outside of Kempsey in New South Wales.
On behalf of the Australian football family, Football Australia extends its deepest sympathies to the immediate and extended Parsons family, and those closest to Frank.
Football Australia acknowledges Andrew Howe and Greg Stock for supplying information regarding the extraordinary life of Frank Parsons.