May 31, 2022 – The Croatian Soccer Association of Australia (or the Hrvatski Nogometni Savez Australije) was founded in 1974, with its prime objective being to assist in the development and promotion of all its member soccer clubs in Australia (and New Zealand), that were formed/founded by local Croatian communities in each state.
Every year the Savez helps coordinate its annual soccer tournament, one that is awarded to one of its member clubs to manage and stage. Recent tournaments have attracted as many as 58 teams from all over Australia and New Zealand. Teams that compete in 1 of 5 divisions: Men’s Division 1 (NPL / State League clubs), Men’s Division 2 (Lower State League / Amateur Clubs), Women’s Division, a Master’s Division (over 35’s) and a Veterans Division (over 45’s).
Although the CSAA’s member clubs were all founded by their respective Croatian communities around Australia and New Zealand, the composition of the actual teams is entirely multicultural – a true reflection of the welcoming nature of the Croatian community as well as these clubs’ unflinching commitment to excellence in the sport.
The inspiration for the tournament came from the successful Croatian-North American Soccer Tournament founded in 1964. In Australia, a trial tournament was first held at Melbourne Croatia’s home ground at Montgomery Park in Essendon, where six Croatian clubs from across Australia participated. The first official CSAA tournament was held in 1975, an event that was hosted by Sydney Croatia, and taken out by Canberra Deakin Croatia.
Since then, the CSAA’s annual tournament has gone on to become the largest and oldest ethnic football tournament in Australia, having been hosted in every state and territory (except for the Northern Territory). It also holds the honour of being the oldest national soccer competition still running in Australia.
“The most recent Tournament hosted by Dandenong City Hajduk in 2019 prior to the nationwide COVID restrictions attracted some 58 teams from most of the CSAA’s 28 member clubs, with two international teams, RWB Adria Chicago and Munich Croatia participating at the 2018 Gold Coat Tournament”, according to CSAA President Jure Dragovic.
After a break of a number of years, the 2022 Tournament will be hosted by the King Tomislav Club in Sydney over the weekend of 29 September to 2 October, with well over 50 teams again participating not only in on-field competition, but a number of social and cultural activities including a gala evening, Miss Croatia Australia Pageant, CSAA Hall of Fame induction, as well as live music functions across the weekend.