The 46th Croatian Australian Soccer Tournament is set to take place in October next year at the North Geelong Warriors Football Club. The tournament is one of the biggest community soccer tournaments in the country. Being hosted already since 1974, it is also carrying the title of being the oldest soccer competition on a national level within the state.
The tournament was founded initially inspired by the success which the Croatian-North American Soccer Tournament had which started in 1964. Their first event was held in Melbourne, and a mere six clubs took part in the game. Over the decades the tournament has grown into a legitimate international affair with players and supporters coming from beyond the borders of both New Zealand and Australia, including Canada, the United States and Germany.
Over the four days, 1 200 participants will be competing against each other in 120 matches. The entire event is estimated to bring in a financial injection into Geelong of around $4 million. According to the figures for the 2018 tournament, the expected number of visitors who will be attending either the games, the gala events or the plethora of business networking lunches, will be around 10 000.
North Geelong Warriors Football Club
The club was founded in late December 1967. During 1968 they played their first season in Division 2 and competed against other teams from Geelong, Ballarat and the District Soccer Association. They then ended up fourth in the group of 10 organizations.
The club has been serving the Croatian Community of the Geelong area for more than 50 years. Since they are the most distinguished soccer institution in Geelong, they play a vital role within the community and are aiding in the development of the sport. Currently, they are competing in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2. Initially, the club was founded to form a connection between the broader Croatian communities who moved to the city of Geelong, to help them settle in their new country, but also to celebrate their heritage.
Today the club has grown to be the football destination of more than 408 players. Their home base is situated in Elcho Park in the suburb Lara in northern Geelong. These players don’t know the only range in ethnicity but also age. The youngest group of players are under 5’s. Then they cover all groups between including nine women’s teams, the National Premier League Division 2 senior side and a total sum of 35 NGWFC units. The club has been a participant in the Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament regularly, and it was host to the event four times and won the championship title for the first time in 2014.
The local clubs and businesses will receive assistance from the provincial government to prepare for the massive influx of visitors expected in their small town for the four days. This is done to ensure that these business achieves maximum benefit from the financial input and to ensure that visitors will enjoy a relaxing and fun stay.