King’s Birthday Honour – Kevin O’Neill OAM

Football Australia congratulates a member of the Australian football family who today has been acknowledged in the annual King’s Birthday Honours List for his service to the Australian football community.

We are delighted to announce that former Socceroo and Cap Number 113, Kevin O’Neill OAM, has been named in the prestigious King’s Birthday Honours List, awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). This honour recognises his outstanding contributions to Australian football and his significant impact on the sport both domestically and internationally.

Born in Cessnock in 1925, Kevin O’Neill’s illustrious football career began at Cessnock Primary School in the Hunter Region of NSW. He went on to play for various clubs in the Northern NSW competition, including Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, West Wallsend, Lake Macquarie, Awaba, and Weston. With a remarkable 512 first-grade appearances – 410 of which were for Cessnock – O’Neill’s ‘s career spanned almost two decades from the 1940s to the 1960s.

O’Neill made his NSW debut in 1946 and set a record by playing in 20 North vs South matches up until 1962. His international career was equally impressive, with 26 full Internationals and 10 Tests for Australia. Notably, he participated in tours of South Africa in 1950 and New Zealand in 1958, demonstrating his prowess on the global stage.

A true leader, O’Neill captained Australia in two tests against Hearts of Midlothian (Scotland) and served as Vice-Captain on numerous occasions. His leadership qualities and dedication to the sport have left an indelible mark on Australian football.

Kevin O’Neill’s contributions have been widely recognised. He was inducted into the Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Football Australia Hall of Fame in 2000, solidifying his legacy as one of the sport’s greats.

James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia, expressed his admiration for Kevin O’Neill, stating, “Kevin O’Neill’s dedication and passion for football have made him a true icon of the sport. His contributions have not only advanced the game in Australia but have also inspired generations of players. This honour is a testament to his exceptional career and lasting impact on football.”

Football Australia congratulates Kevin O’Neill on this well-deserved recognition and celebrates his remarkable achievements and enduring legacy in Australian football.


  • Mr. Kevin O’Neill OAM (NSW): For service to football as a player for the Australian Men’s National Team, the Socceroos, between 1949 and 1959 playing 26 full international matches of which he captained four. O’Neill also played for Lake Macquarie City Football Club (1961 – 1963), Sydney Football Club Prague (1959 – 1960), Cessnock City Homets Football Club (1945 – 1958), West Wallsend Football Club (1944) and Kurri Kurri Football Club (1943). Inductee, City of Cessnock Hall of Fame in the sport category, 2007, Inductee Football Australia Hall of Fame, 2000 and Inductee, Hunter Region Sporting Hall of Fame, 1996.

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