Damian was born on 15 December 1961 in the suburb of Carlton in Sydney’s south west where his passion for football began. In 1969, he started his playing career with St George Police Boys in the St George Association. Damian’s family then moved to the northern suburbs of Sydney. In 1974, Damian joined St Leo’s club and played in the Ku-ring-gai and District Soccer Association (KDSA) competition. In 1975, Damian participated in a refereeing course with the Ku-ring-gai and District Soccer Referees Association (KDSRA now known as the KDFRA). In 1977, Damian stopped playing football and became a full time referee. There is a story that is told by many that Damian realised that he was a far better referee than player!
Damian went on the serve the KDSRA and KDFRA for several years. His first role was with the KDSRA in 1981 when Damian was an Area Supervisor for junior referees. In 1989, Damian joined the KDSRA Management Committee as the Assistant Secretary and then became the Senior Vice President for three years in the early 1990’s. He then became President of the KDSRA for five years, his last year being 1998. Damian was honoured with Life Membership of KDSRA/KDFRA in 1999.
Damian became a volunteer member of the Ku-ring-gai and District Soccer Association’s – now known as Northern Suburbs Football Association (NSFA) – Protests, Disputes and Disciplinary Committee (PD&DC) in 1994 as the KDSRA delegate and continued in that role until 1998 when he became the Chairman of the PD&DC. He continued in this role until 2005. The PD&DC deals with all send-offs, cautions and incident reports from football match officials. The PD&DC also acts on any formal disputes and complaints sent to the Association. In these roles, Damian maintained an open mind, was very fair and made considered decisions. Damian was always a true gentleman and helped maintain the integrity of the game by fulfilling these roles.
In 2006, Damian was employed by the KDSA and in 2007 became a full time employee. This meant Damian could no longer continue in his role as PD&DC Chairman. Nevertheless, he never stopped working tirelessly for the Committee. He became a wealth of knowledge to people who have since served on the PD&DC and has always made himself available to teach or give advice to the members. He became invaluable to the PD&DC in his administrative role with the KDSA/NSFA. In 2008, Damian was honoured with life membership of the KDSA/NSFA for his invaluable service to the Association.
In 2009, Damian was asked by Jason Eagar to be the Manager the Northern Tigers Men’s First Grade side as he was always at the games supporting the team. Damian carried out this Manager role for 7 years, his last year being 2015. In an article written by Mark Stavroulakis from Football NSW (FNSW), Damian claimed that these were the best 7 years of his life. Damian would often boast – and was correct – that he was the most successful team manager in the Club’s history having been the manager for the 2010, 2012 and 2015 Grand Final winning sides. Jason Eagar says “he was the calm head and reassuring voice on the bench and in the change room who loved to discuss all things football and rugby league with the players”. Damian was the ‘stats’ man who kept on top of goal scorer tallies, match appearances and other information. He was a well-respected figure amongst the other clubs in the FNSW competition.
Sadly, due to being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Damian ceased his employment with the NSFA in 2021 to look after his own health and passed away on 24 September 2022. The Association introduced a MND Round 12 in 2021 to generate funds for MND NSW and show support for Damian. It is held in Round 12 each year as Damian will always be the 12th man of NSFA. The NSFA Cup (formerly the KDSA Cup), first introduced in 1968, has been renamed the ‘Damian Miles Cup’ in recognition of Damian. Damian was posthumously awarded a State Award from Football NSW in October 2022 in recognition of his services to football.
Away from football, Damian had a strong love of cricket, music, Liverpool FC and the St George Illawarra Dragons. He also had an amazing general knowledge and memory that made him invaluable at Trivia nights! Damian is sorely missed by all. We are incredibly grateful for Damian’s 5-decade contribution to the growth of football in the NSFA and KDFRA over this time.