2024 will mark the Centenary of Soccer at Concord, with the anniversary of the establishment of the original Concord Soccer Football Club. In order to thrive every longlived institution has had succeeding generations pick it up, and remake it to fit the times, and to have lasted this long of course Concord JSC is no different. Founded in 1924, the first big move was from Central Park on Wellbank st to Edwards in 1933 after the land was reclaimed from mangroves. (see pictures below) Edwards Park was named after Alderman J. Edwards, an ex mayor of Concord Municipality who had been involved in the formation of the original club in 1924. The club originally competed in the Ryde and District S.F.A, but by 1929 had joined the Granville SFA and by 1933 was competing in the State League competition at its new home at Edwards.
From 1935-7 the club was known as the Concord Scottish club, with the Scottish Thistle as it's emblem. After a break of a few years for WW2 the Club was reformed as Concord and District SFA and competed in the Metropolitan State League competition but also had an All-Age team in the Canterbury & District SFA. In 1958 after the original Concord and District Soccer Club was bought out by the Concordia Club, the current Concord JSC was launched in the vacuum, originally fielding only junior teams, and with links to the previous senior club evident in the use of the same home ground at Edwards, the use of the same club colours and a foundation committee that included many names involved in the original club. By 1965 the club was fielding 17 teams, and by 1969 they were up to 25 teams playing in the Western Suburbs SFA competitions.
Through the 1970's and 1980's the club introduced football programs for Under 6's and 7's on mini fields using size three balls. The club also launched teams in the senior State League competitions. The 1990's and 2000's saw the number of girls and women's teams really take off, providing the strong foundation for the excellence our girls and womens teams exhibit today.
The last decade has seen phenomenal change and upheaval, starting with the replacement of the Edwards Park clubhouse. Those who remember setting up and packing up the portable BBQ and marquee each matchday were very happy the day the new clubhouse opened, but playing capacity at Edwards Park was still overloaded.
The most recent revolution for the club was the partnership with Interlions that led to the establishment of Majors Bay Reserve. We now have two home grounds, and when one of them is a synthetic pitch that only closes during lightning storms, we have fewer game and training cancellations as well as year round access to football right here in Concord. The SIXES competition that runs through the off season is thriving, lifting our game, and increasing fitness year round, while the academy hones skills. This was a seemingly impossible dream just a few short years ago, but now it is our reality.
The club continues to grow and thrive. In the 2023 season we fielded 54 teams in the Football Canterbury competition, which does not include the U5 - U7 teams who play in the Concord in house competition. We overcame 2 Covid interrupted seasons, followed by the rain apocalypse season of 2022. In 2023, our first "normal" season for a while, we rejigged the allocation of MBR to enable our U7 to play there every second week, easing them into the Home and Away mindset needed in U8. The Game Leader program championed by Mick Horseman and Craig Feeney is a vast improvement on the parent refereed games of just a few short years ago.
And the pace is not slowing down! Enquiries for women and girls teams are off the chart following the Women's World Cup. 2024 will see the establishment of our inaugural O35W team. James Monda's U16G will hopefully get a third time lucky tilt at Champion of Champions. Our 14/1 parents are stepping up and taking charge of their team, running trials and funding additional resources to enable their kids to level up. Last year 2 teams competed in Kanga Cup in Canberra, and BOTH brought home the silverware. We have Linesh and John who have big plans to expand the goalkeeper training program. So many enthusiastic Coaches and Managers taking up the mantle and making big plans for their team in 2024. We love it all and look forward to another great season kicking off in April.
We were lucky to inherit a strong club, both financially and with a huge groundswell of local goodwill and support. The real strength of Concord has always been our members, not just the committee, but every parent/volunteer who gets involved in their child's soccer career. The committee is just 10 people, which spreads very thinly in a club that averages 1000 players each year. The club is made up of all our people and could not function without everyone pitching in. We remain open to suggestions and initiatives from people prepared to commit time to the club. Our aim, like those who went before us, is to hand over a thriving club, meeting the challenges of the now and looking forward to the next.
So here's to the next 100 years. Any suggestions on how we should celebrate? Should we hope for a telegram from King Charles?
Happy Centenary Concord.
Cheers Law for the photos of the original reclamation work to form Edwards.
Is that Michael Stavrou & Danny Coral overseeing the pipes being laid?