Almanac Soccer: Twenty-twenty-two is a big year for centenaries in soccer



The Australian soccer team to play their first international match in a game against New Zealand.


It is one hundred years since the Australian national football team went to New Zealand to play the first games between the two nations at that top level. New Zealand had sent a touring team to Australia in 1905 that engaged state teams but not a representative national one. In 1923 the New Zealanders returned to Australia and there were plans for a regular annual competition, but these did not come to pass. It was not for another decade before New Zealand came back to Australia and another three before Australia reciprocated. Since then encounters have been intermittent, but will be resumed later this year with matches to commemorate the centenary. Meanwhile Australia Post is issuing a set of stamps to celebrate a century of the team now known as the Socceroos, though that term was not attached to the national team until 1972.


Here in Australia the Canterbury and District Soccer Football Association has just published a beautiful highly illustrated history of the organisation to mark one hundred years of its existence. Modern technology and good searching in the archives have been combined to produce something of which the organisation and its members can be very proud. Since the 2022-23 season is just under way, the organisation is getting in a little early. Clubs existed in 1922, but the Association was not officially formed till the following year.


Since then it has been the starting point for the careers of a host of top level players from Roy Crowhurst who played with Canterbury Park, Metters and Australia before the Second World War to Tim Cahill in the modern era. Johnny Warren was a Canterbury boy, as was his close friend and Australian representative John Watkiss. Princess Ibini, who is currently forcing her way into the Matildas, represents the women’s game today.


The clubs that took part also reflected the variety of different groups involved in the game. Most clubs had and have district names, but there were works clubs, clubs that reflected the overseas heritage of members and others that had names that the book coyly says ‘reflected lifestyle choices’. Women were playing the game in the local area in 1922, though obstacles to their taking part were common and sometimes overwhelming.



Canterbury Park Soccer Football Club 1927. Roy Crowhurst is on the left in the front row. Broughton Ward and Chasling, Sydney from the Canterbury Soccer Football Association Centenary History, p. 7.


There are some coy references to periods of turbulence in the story of the Association, even some recent ones. But the overwhelming message is very positive, as it should be. Each of the current clubs gets a page in the book including some that are devoted to juniors and special issues and the illustrations reflect that. According to a note in the book, two new clubs joined the association in 2022 and others ‘are primed to join them’. The book really is an example of what can be done with modern technology and presentation to make a beautiful and accessible celebratory volume.



For anyone interested, the book is available for purchase for $20 at this link



More from Roy Hay can be read Here.


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