Arnold, Bosnich, Cahill, Culina, Foster, Jedinak, Popovic, Kalac, Slater, Milicic, Zelic and Rudan are just some of the names that Sydney United 58 FC boast as players that have been through the system at Edensor Park.
These names show the role in which the club has played in producing some of the best juniors that have ever gone on to represent Australia.
Sydney United 58, formerly known at times as Sydney Croatia, Metropolitan Adristic, South Sydney Croatia and Sydney Croatia Soccer Club is a proud football club with a successful history.
Formed in 1957 as a sports club in Surry Hills, Sydney Croatia played their first season in the old NSW Soccer Federation.
They began their climb up the divisions quickly and by 1963 were one of the elite teams nationwide.
Playing out of numerous venues in the early days such as Wentworth Park, E.S Marks Field, Sydney Sports Ground and Parramatta Stadium, the club bought a block of land in Sydney’s west in 1980 that would soon become Edensor Park, being the venue so many famous matches since then.
The glory days at Edensor Park through the 1980’s would often attract crowds of 10,000 people to the venue in the NSW State League, when the National League clubs only averaged 3,000.
A quick promotion to the national league followed and with it came prosperity.
National Soccer League Premiers in 1986, 1996-97 and 1998/99 as well as reaching the Grand Final in 1988, 1996/97 and 1998/99, demonstrates their success.
Ray Gerrie, who has been involved with the club for over 15 years, recalls the days of a strong Sydney United national league outfit, recalling the 1998/99 squad.
“We had a group of sixteen players, with three young internationals in Michael Santalab, Mile Sterjovski and Joel Griffiths. Also in the team was Jacob Burns, so we had a basic 8 players who were the backbone of the side and the other 8 were the young guns who really ran the rings off.
“We made it all the way to the NSL Grand Final that year when we were not expected to.”
Gerrie is the type of person that every club needs to run successfully.
“I work for the players really, in conjunction with the coach. When the players don’t start training until about half past seven, they’ve had lunch but they haven’t had anything for dinner. They don’t finish training until about quarter to ten at night so I make sure everyone is fed and happy.”
Gerrie describes his role as a ‘team co-ordinator’.
“I make sure that everything we need for training is there”
Gerrie’s role though is understated as he is the type of person that is the glue of a strong club.
After a short stint at Parramatta Power, Gerri returned to the club in 2002 and has stayed ever since, witnessing a return to the state league after the demise of the NSL.
Since the abandonment of the NSL in 2004, United have gone on to become state league premiers in both 2009 and 2013 as well as champions in 2006 and National Premier League Champions, most recently in 2013.
Sydney United 58 FC still have a strong supporter base, evident when they played Sydney FC in a Westfield FFA Cup game at Edensor Park which saw both teams play in front of 8000 fans.
Its passion like the fans, Gerrie works off that keeps him ticking which in turn keeps the spirit alive at the former NSL giants headquarters.
Heritage Round Match Details
Sydney United 58 FC vs Blacktown Spartans
3:00pm Sunday 14th June @ Sydney United Sports Centre
Tickets available at the gate (Adults $15, Concessions $10)
– by Jack Hislop