Granville & Districts Soccer Football Association is celebrating its 120-year anniversary in 2020 and the oldest Australian football association has plenty of history to celebrate.
Association Director Noel Dona said research recently showed that the association was established in 1900, not in 1902 as had been previously thought.
“For decades the associations place in the Australian football landscape was that it was for decades the nursery and engine room for the players of Sydney and indeed Australia,” he said.
“We’re a much smaller association now than when we were founded, but we’ve recognised the importance of our history and it’s a good platform for us to use to grow our numbers and ensure those in the association take pride in our shared history.”
Indeed, the GDSFA’s Premier League trophy, the Challenge Shield, is the oldest contested piece of football silverware in Australia.
“In 1901 when the first adults were playing they didn’t know it but at the presentation or annual dinner they were presented with the Challenge Shield, and that has since become the oldest soccer football shield that is continuously being played for anywhere in Australia,” Dona explained.
“Our Premier League teams appreciate the importance of what they are playing for.”
The GDSFA is also home to the Cottam Cup, Australia’s oldest football knockout competition trophy, which was originally awarded in 1907 to Pyrmont.
These days, the Cottam Cup is an invitational tournament contested by men’s teams from across the state, from various football associations.
The final is held at Melita Stadium and Donna said the local entrants to the competition from the GDSFA always felt a strong sense of pride in keeping the cup within the association.
“For over 100 years the Cottam Cup was just played within Granville,but over the last 12 years, we have we have opened it up to all senior associations, so that’s getting bigger and better.
“It’s pleasing to see the other associations who are buying and want to be a part of it. Now the challenge for Granville teams is to keep the trophy in Granville.”
Of course, while the GDSFA has plenty of history to celebrate, it has great plans for the future too and is excited to welcome a host of new players in 2020.
With so much of Granville changing thanks to the ongoing vertical development of many of its suburbs, the GDSFA’s campaign for 2020 is “Target 10,000”.
“We’re going back to the future a bit and learning the lessons from the founders of associations by targeting schools and getting kids to play the round-ball game,” Dona said.
“Some of our clubs do this really well, but we want to support all our clubs.
“Like most associations, we see our future growth in the MiniRoos program and we have a strong multicultural community in Granville with kids who want to play football, but perhaps their parents aren’t familiar with the game.
“We want to make sure that we offer plenty of opportunities for those kids who want to play the game to get involved but also to ensure their families get more involved in the clubs by ensuring we have plenty of educational programs, not just for the kids, but for the parents who are new to the game as well.”
To find your local club in 2020, head to http://www.granvillesoccer.com.au/ for more information or check out the club listing below and register today!