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Australian Soccer



 
Although Australian soccer does not enjoy as much popularity as other forms of football in the country, nonetheless the game has a wide supporter base which has inspired and encouraged, the Australian football team to grow par excellence at the international level. Australian football is not as popular as Australian Rules football neither is it ass widely enjoyed as rugby, but still it has managed to grow into one of the most enjoyed sports by the Australian people. Australian soccer owes its origins as long back as 1880 when the first club in Australian football was established. The club was called Wanderers and it was the result of an initiative on the part of school teacher, John Walter Fletcher. The club was founded at Parramatta in New South Wales but it has failed to sustain to this day. One of the oldest surviving clubs is the Balgownie Rangers which was founded in 1883 and still competes in regional leagues like the Illawarra.

Early connoisseurs of Australian soccer had to be careful that they develop their game on a scale that would be quite different from the other 2 forms of football in the country, rugby and Australian rules. The Football Federation of Australia has worked tirelessly to transform the game into a professional level within the country and the Australian soccer team is now a regular participant in the Asian Football Federation. The Football Federation of Australia has recently undergone a name change and is now referred to as Soccer Australia. Domestic football had always been part of the football scenario in Australia, but it is only recently when A-level domestic soccer championships have been started in the country.

The very first form of administrative body responsible for governing Australian soccer was formed in 1882 under the guidance of John Fletcher and was given the name of the New South Wales Association. The first recorded match was played in Australian soccer was played between Victoria and New South Wales in 1883. The New South Wales Association gave inspiration to other states to start their own local association and subsequently a number of associations like the Victorian Association, the Anglo-Australian Football Association, the Anglo-Queensland Football Association, Western Australian Football Association and the South Australian Football Association were formed. The last of such local associations was formed in Tasmania in the year 1900. It was not until 1912 that an organization was formed to oversee football activities in the whole of Australia. The first such organization was called the Commonwealth Football Association.

Australian soccer could not gain much popularity with the native Australians but with settlers like the British and the Southern Europeans it was immensely popular and this led to establishing soccer as another form of football in the country. However, it took Australian soccer a large number of years to finally expand its ambit across the continent and the sport enjoyed large scales of popularity only in the 1950's and 60's, when the sport reached miraculous heights of popularity among Australian people. Significantly, Australian football was also the sport which bridged the gap between minority communities and other classes within the country, thus bringing about a unique unity.

The Australian soccer team made its first appearance in the football World Cup in 1974 with such legendary players as Johnny Warren. In order to promote football on a professional level in the country, there are many leagues operating within each state in Australia, but there is only a single divisional league that is managed by Football Australia and is called the National Soccer League. Leagues started only in 1977 and continue to attract various clubs from different divisions in the country. The Australian national team also has a moniker called socceroos while the women's national football team is called Matildas. Matildas is a strong competitor in the Olympics and the FIFA Women's World Cup.
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