The Adelaide University Soccer Club began in 1935. Read about our proud history…

AUSC from the Beginning…

In 1935 the Second Division of the SA Soccer Association played its first round of league games on Saturday 27th April. The University – and probably (Goodwood) Otiose – joined the Division two weeks later on the 11th May. I find that “otiose” is an obscure English word meaning “pointless, idle, etc.” My theory is that Otiose Boys Club was a euphemistic name for an organisation that attempted to keep unemployed aimless youth out of mischief during the economic depression of the 1930’s. Soccer would have been one of several available activities run. (Ron Roberts)

1935 was the first year of actual Soccer played by a University team in the local competition, but it was 1936 was a year in which hopes were gaining on many fronts. Those in the University (only one then) who were keen on playing Soccer (then a game that most people ignored in SA) managed to form a Soccer Club in the University and was accepted as an affiliate of the AUSA at their Annual General Meeting on March 26th 1936; actual title at that time was ‘Adelaide University Association Football Club’. The Club was associated with the South Australian British Football Association. The next four years show the Club involved in matches with other clubs associated with the SABFA, never sparkling but producing one or two top players, including Ian J Evans 11 state games for SA and 1 National game for Australia v India (University & SA) played at wing-half for Australia when it beat India 3-1 in the ‘Fifth Test’ at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday 1st October 1938. It was his only appearance in a national team. Players from outside NSW and Qld were very rarely chosen in those days.

The highlight of this early time was being SABFA Division 2 Runners Up in 1937 and thus being promoted to Division 1 for 1938, and the Pozza Cup Winners of 1937 initially after coming back from 0.2 down at half time v Otiose to draw 2.2 and then win 1.0 in the replay the following week.

Then came 1939 and World War II. The SA Association closed its activities for the duration, but there were some friendly games between those who were available. Then came the worst blow; the Association’s main ground, the Jubilee Oval on Frome Road opposite the Dental Hospital and north of the Jubilee Building of the then SA School of Mines and Industries, became the site of slit trenches for scholars of the School and of the Adelaide Technical High School which was part of it. I was one of them. And the Oval was used for other groups also, and as a result it became useless as an oval. It is now the site of University Engineering Faculty buildings.

In 1946 the Club was revived as was Club Soccer in the State, or at least in Adelaide and suburbs. Pre-war Clubs, or most of them, tried to form teams again but most of them only lasted a year or two. At the end of this time new interest was rising; migrants were being encouraged to come to Australia to find a new life, and most came from the UK and then Europe and their only football codes were Soccer and Rugby, but the latter did not secure as much support as the former. The result was that the various groups of migrants naturally joined into national blocs and began to play the game they knew. The State Association welcomed them and over the next few years there were teams representing Britain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Serbia, Croatia and others and interest grew. The Game saw more divisions available for teams to join and it seems that that move has not yet stopped. And with the increase in interest the standard grew, and that move seems not to have stopped either

Unfortunately hatreds from the past of some of these countries came to the surface during games, and in the end the Association required clubs to do away with names of countries as their club name where there had been fighting.

The University Club started slowly and with only just enough members to fill the two teams that had been registered; indeed it was not unusual in the first year at least and sometimes in the second year for the second team to be playing short by up to 3 players – any fewer meant a forfeit and there were some of them too. Initially the ‘A’ team was in the first division, but in the second year we were put down to the second division where we were more level with the other teams we played. Although we never reached the top, we gave other teams a real game when we met. And the influx of players who were brought up in the game came to have an effect on the size of the club, in the way we played and the standard of our play. As the State Association grew so did we, and the number of teams we were able to put on the field each week grew, so that today we have more teams than were ever thought possible in 1946. No doubt the growing popularity of the game in Australia and in the State helped in this regard. I have to be a little hazy about these years because I was chasing a round ball on icy fields elsewhere.

Other universities also had their teams and in 1947 Sydney and Melbourne were both asked to and did send teams to the first post-war Intervarsity, and the following year Melbourne was the host. In 1949 Sydney was the host but Adelaide was unable to make it because of a wide railway workers strike. These Matches have continued and have proved very popular with those who can go.

Grounds were always a problem for the first few years. There was really only one ground that could be called ours – it was on the edge of the University Oval by Frome Road near the Albert Bridge. It was not always that the ground would be well marked out, and it was standard practice for the team playing at home to put up the nets and the flags and return them to the Oval Grandstand after the game. A number of games were played on Parklands grounds which were the home grounds of quite a few of the other teams in the competition, and the condition of some of these, often with uncut grass and weeds, that made games quite “interesting!” to say the least.

It would be wrong of me not to record the great support the Club received from the Adelaide University Sports Association over its growing time, and also the understanding of the State Association in those years. Without both of these avenues of support the Club would not have grown as it did nor reach the standard it is today, but someone else will fill in the years between then and now, years in which I was unable to keep much contact with the Club for a number of reasons.

– Reg Casling
AUSA Blues Winner, AUSC Life Member, former AUSC Chairperson and SASF Meritorious Service Winner

I began to study at Adelaide University (AU) in 1945 at the Dental school. Since the AUSC team had stopped playing at the end of the 1940 season with the South Australian British Football League (SABFL) it continued to play the occasional friendly v AU Staff and inter-faculty on campus. At the end of 1945 or beginning of 1946 I saw a note on the Student’s notice board regarding forming a soccer team, to continue on from the pre-war days when AU had a team, about which I knew or know nothing.

Wilf Geisler, from the School of Mines initiated the notice, and since I had played soccer during my last year of primary school at Glenelg and had enjoyed it much more than Australian Rules football, I signed up. I contacted Wilf and together we put out a few more notices and gradually more students became interested and we were able to organise some kick-arounds. That year in 1946 we entered the South Australian Soccer Association and began playing proper matches.

Unfortunately we were not very good, and Bob Donaldson a Physiotherapist student who was our Goal keeper was kept very busy. We lost every match in our first year.

In 1947 our committee which I was apart of contacted Melbourne University soccer team and the first post-war intervarsity match was arranged. In August 1947 we set off on the Melbourne express. a night train in those days. I did not think any of us slept that night. I remember that I lay on the floor between the feet of those in seats. We played 3 matches I believe, and again lost them all. So Melbourne University won the first Intervarsity.

The year after in 1948 we had enough members for two teams, Division 2 and 4 and our committee put me in charge of the B team. We played regular district matches, as did the A team, we did not win any, or if any we may have only won one or two! Intervarsity was again won by Melbourne University which was joined by Sydney University and AUSC and was played again in Melbourne.

I cannot remember the details of the following year – I think AUSC played Melbourne University in Adelaide, the usual result occurred with Melbourne now retaining the Cup for perpetuity with its third consecutive win! Reverting to local matches – for probably two years we played our home matches on a ground in the North parklands, on the corner of Barton Terrace and Jeffcott Street. Then the University allowed us the to play on a ground associated with the University Ovals just across Frome Road from the Main Oval (now called the Graduates Oval) It was wonderful to have our own home ground and being a University ground it was kept in immaculate condition for us.

One thing of amusement for me – our second team was playing Cumberland Park on the South parklands. I was at centre-half and the centre forward for Cumberland Park was George Topperwein, who was several inches taller than I. Needless to say I was getting nowhere in opposition to him. However on one occasion, a ball was coming straight at us a bit above head height, just as he was about to head it somewhere, I shot my fist up and punched the ball away. Of course it was a handball and he received a free – but to this day, 60 years later, I remember the look on George’s face as my fist shoot up past his nose and the amazement he expressed are unforgettable!

– Bruce Napier

The Veterans Soccer League commenced in 1982 with six teams: Beograd, Noarlunga, Nomads, Polonia, Sturt, and University. In 1983 two additional teams entered: Azzurri (organised by a former Nomads player), and Austria (organised by a former Polonia player). In 1984 Polonia withdrew, and there are currently seven teams in the competition. Efforts to attract more teams have not been successful. Although new players have joined, by and large they have been relatively young (between 35 and 40) and have tended to replace older players. This is partly because natural competiveness has led teams to try to increase their playing strength, and partly because older players find it increasingly difficult to compete.

The over 35’s would continue with 6 teams (e.g. Austria, Azzurri, Beograd, Nomads, Sturt, and University). In addition, A new division based on a minimum age of 45 would commence with 4 teams (e.g. Beograd, Noarlunga, Nomads and University) The AU Sports Association would be happy to provide a sixth pitch so that all games can be played at the same time.

The proposal assumes that the formation of the new division will bring back a number of older players who have dropped out since the commencement of the Veterans League. It also assumes that Beograd, Nomads and University will be able to find an organizer for each team. Older players who formerly played for Austria, Azzurri, Sturt, or Polonia will be encouraged to join one of the four over-45 teams. It is envisaged that some players who are over 45 may still prefer to play in the younger division, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t. The names of the 4 over-45 teams could be different from the existing teams. The lengths of the halves could be 35 minutes instead of 40 minutes, and generally it would operate very much as a social league (for example, 13 year old sons, or even grandsons, might be allowed to make up numbers so long as no one objected).

The formation of two veterans divisions should attract more players into both. Younger players who are not yet ready to transfer from a fully competitive league to a social league would find the over-35 division a suitable transition. Older players would be happier to play in a truly social atmosphere. (Two over-45 games could precede the Cup Final on 15 Sept.)

– Tony Winefield
27th June 1985

It all started around 1967, I grew up in Finniss Street, North Adelaide or Lower North Adelaide as it was called in those days. There was a group of us guys who used to get together and kick the ball around at the University Ovals on MacKinnon Parade. The University Ovals was actually used by the Adelaide Teachers College (ACAE) in those days.

There North Adelaide Junior Colts was born!

Well we eventually found our way to kicking the balls at University by training at Park 9 at Gilberton, then one day we were asked if we had enough guys to form a team to be Adelaide University Under 14s as they( the first team) needed a Junior team to be associated with the Federation. Well we began hunting the neighbourhood looking for anyone who could kick a ball and was under 14. We had just enough to form a team and that’s where we began.

We had to all get our own gear which we ended up with white T shirts, because most guys had one, and get our Mums to sew on a number or write it on. Our first season was a BIG learning curve for us, as we were competing with very established clubs like Juventus (Adelaide City) Azzurri, Beograd, etc. They had all the right facilities, not to mention uniforms.

Our first coach was Ron Roberts I think, Reece Jones came on the scene later. In the first season as novices, we were pretty much pumped every game. I remember our first match was against Campbelltown City and we lost 9-0. We were pretty proud of the fact that we kept them to single figures!

After the season was completed we lost every match, scored only 3 goals (with my over aged brother Gino scoring 2) and conceded 140 goals! I was the goalkeeper, and I remember our biggest defeat was 24-0 against Juventus at Olympic Sports Field which seemed like the Colosseum to all of us, but we still enjoyed playing in a team even though we kept getting flogged!

In our second meeting against Juventus we did improve at home losing 17-2, but we were proud of the fact that we were the only team to score 2 goals against them that year!!!

Fast forward 3 years and we did improve from our first season. The one BIG thrill for all of us was that we had to play Juventus in a Cup round, we had mostly the same boys and they had pretty much the same team if not better, but we caused the biggest boil over in Junior soccer, as we beat Juventus and knocked them out of the Cup 2-1.

I remember about 9 of us piling into Reece Jones Morris Minor after the match to go home (as we were all too young to drive), and 2 of the boys were in the boot of the car, opening the boot at the traffic lights and screaming out that we won!!!! We were so happy that after being thrashed by Juventus in our first season, we finally knocked the BIG gun out of the Cup! It was amazing we didn’t get into trouble with the Police!!!

We made it all the way to the Cup Final, but lost 4-1. (Can’t remember who the team was) Well after the Under 16 team we were all too old to play in the junior’s, and we all went our separate ways! I went and played for Enfield Victoria then later USC Lion as the goalkeeper, Helmut Kopp also went to Enfield Victoria and others either played in lower leagues or simple stopped playing!

I will say that all the goalkeeping practice I got with North Adelaide Colts, improved my goalkeeping in later years!

– Dominic Rinaldo

Metro League, Collegiate League & Saturday Amateurs

Until 1965, when the Sunday Industrial Soccer League (the embryonic SA Amateur Soccer League) was established for those who wished to play on a Sunday, any new soccer club that wanted to play regular competition matches in the greater Adelaide area had no choice but to join the SA Soccer Federation (or its predecessor Associations). As well as suburban teams, this included those from the likes of Mannum, Tailem Bend, and Murray Bridge – they had no choice.

Essentially, for decades sport had only been played on Saturday afternoons, and the SASF had always done so. SA society reflected the view of the Christian churches that insisted Sunday should be a sacrosanct day of rest. The efflux of time, accelerated by the flood of post-war migrants who were accustomed to a quite different recreational Sunday in Europe, steadily modified the old attitude and the Sunday competitions of the SAASL developed rapidly.

This 1960s decade coincided with the AUSC expanding from fielding two teams to six teams, and the formation of teams at Flinders University and the Teacher’s Colleges. SASF administrators had always recognized the importance of teachers and professional men in developing the sport, and warmly encouraged this development.

To develop these new teams into viable clubs, an infant Metropolitan League was set up for the 1971 season. Management of the Metropolitan League was modelled on that of the SASF Third Division Management Committee. It was also represented as Saturday Amateurs on the Management Committee of the SAASL, so the competition had the official backing of both bodies.

The initial 1971 competition comprised teams from Adelaide University, Graduates, SA Institute of Technology, Salisbury Teacher’s College, Flinders University and the Malaysia Singapore Students Association. There were insufficient official referees and most games were refereed by volunteers from the AUSC such as Bill Devine, Tony Winefi