Genesis of the Collegiate Soccer League (CSL)
During the late 1970’s the South Australian Soccer Federation (SASF) ran the Metropolitan League partly as a recruiting ground for new teams to enter the SASF main league. The Adelaide University Soccer Club (AUSC) entered a number of teams in the Metropolitan League, some for competitive purposes, with the aim of winning the competition and entering the SASF main league, whilst other teams played for purely recreational and social purposes.
In 1979 and 1980 the SASF Board set about placing the SASF League on a more professional footing. The diversion of resources towards tertiary institutions was no longer consistent with SASF aims. Therefore the SASF supported the Collegiate League when it formed as a separate entity (from the SASF League) in 1981. The aims were to cater better for the particular needs of the tertiary institutions and to create opportunities for teams of old collegians. The Collegiate League was affiliated to the SASF and the support of the Referees Association was also gained. The inaugural Chairman was Martyn Pearce.
Support of the tertiary institutions and the public and private secondary school sectors was solicited to form the inaugural teams of the Collegiate League.
There were eleven inaugural teams. Representing AUSC were old collegian teams of Graduates Grey (so named because of player vintage – these players later participated in the “Veterans League” 1982) and Graduates Red, student teams Uni Black, Blue, White, Association of Greek University students of Adelaide (AGUA) and staff team “Dons”. Other tertiary-based teams were from Adelaide College (a Teachers College, located at the current Scott Theatre site) and the South Australian Institute of Technology (now University of South Australia – Mawson Lakes) Inaugural old collegian teams from secondary school sector from Rostrevor College and St Peter’s College. Prince Alfred joined in 1982.
– Martyn Pearce
The inaugural Chairman was Martyn Pearce who was the former Chairman of the Metropolitan League Management Committee and was the architect of the separation from SASF and the organisation of the CSL as well as soliciting the support of tertiary institutions and the public and private secondary schools to nominate inaugural teams of the CSL.
AUSC teams played at West Beach – a very good set of pitches on a sand base with no drainage problems even in very heavy rain. There were eleven founding teams from five clubs. Thus this unique league came about because of a fortuitous combination of circumstances which allowed “Universities”, tertiary institutes and colleges to take independent control of their own soccer league and subject to the rules of affiliation with the SASF, could manage their own affairs and finances autonomously. In 1990 those AUSC teams moved back to the University Ovals, the “Zoo” grounds, after 20 years in 2012 it will hopefully be back to West Beach for some if not all teams on some level!
The CSL ran traditional divisions with Championship Cups plus the League wide Collegiate Cup (the original Cup donated by John Roe of St Peters OCSC was run over, an updated one was donated by Michael Hihimanis – CSL Chairman of 15 years in 2008) Over the years the League grew steadily experimenting with various ways of running the competition and always looking for more eligible clubs.
In the later 80’s and early 90’s some of the strongest clubs moved to the South Australian Amateur Soccer League (SAASL), first CBC (now Bosa), then St Peters OCSC then Old Ignatians followed. Some of these clubs then still fielded third teams in the CSL. Whilst from the beginning the AUSC Blacks / Amateurs and Flinders University were founding members of the SAASL Saturday Division in 1984, after finally leaving the SASF Divisions after the 1983 season.
This eventually led to questions of player eligibility – the CSL view was that an honour system should apply if a player was returning from injury or dropped from the Amateur team he could play in the CSL team rather than not play at all that weekend. Of course this unofficial honour system precluded the use of amateur players to assist in getting a better result – also displacing the player who would have usually played in that team. However, our friends at the Amateur League (SAASL), who shared our philosophy of democratic management and running on a shoe-string budget to keep the costs of playing soccer to a minimum. On this count insisted on the absolute protocol of only being registered in one League at a time and having appropriate documentation for officially transferring to another League and after June 30th no further transfers.
Clubs found that if there were not enough players to field a CSL team autonomously then it was easier to consolidate all players in one League and that of course for many was to be the SAASL. The CSL subsequently lost Flinders University teams, OCSC and probably Old Ignatians OCSC for the same reason.
Another contentious point was the National registration and fees. In the early 90’s the CSL Council of Clubs enthusiastically endorsed the concept of the grassroots supporting the National teams and volunteered to pay the levy. It was paid for over a number of years, and then the CSL voted to stop paying it because the promised feedback on its use was not forthcoming, it was also increased without consultation and there were doubts about where the money ended up!
In the late 90’s the Australian Soccer Federation (and the SASF) had its own problems and slowly faded away to be replaced following the Federal Governments Crawford Report – replaced by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and the Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) who were unaware of our existence for a period of time.
Once we were rediscovered the question of which League to affiliate with arose. The CSL worry was that of losing our independence which had been fiercely guarded over the many years, and our constitutional restriction on membership base of Universities, tertiary institutions and colleges precluded opening the league to clubs not so based, like a former Metropolitan League!!
The issue of affiliation was eventually forced on the CSL – essentially to guarantee the provision of referees. The negotiations to get the best deal were lengthy and the CSL eventually became an affiliated body with the FFSA in 2009 – national player registration mandatory, but AU teams exempt from the insurance fee / scheme as ours is better. The FFSA affiliation is subject to review at the end of 2010 – negotiations over the best deal doubtlessly proceeding and no doubt a cost increase!
The CSL has always had a strong competition, only the best and most consistent teams having more than transient success. At the very beginning the Grads Red had League and Cup victories, the Uni Blacks playing 3rd/ 5th/ or 7th teams away from SAASL teams struggled, the Uni Blues had several years of success in the early 90’s, the Uni Dodgers went well in the 3rd (A2) Division for several years and in the late 90’s the Uni Whites won the League and Cup titles on several occasions.
The 2010 competition saw the completion of the 30th Season of the CSL and the 30th Anniversary at the start of next year 2011 – this unique League continues to thrive, now having 17 clubs (5 in 1981) with 52 teams (11 in 1981) Adelaide University SC fielding 10 teams with the AUSC Blacks (4), AUSC Grads Blue (1), AUSC Grads Red (2) and AUSC Uni Whites (3) – three being founding members (Grads Red, Uni Black, and Uni White) with the hope of adding further teams as ground availability enables.
– Dr William Hill