When I returned from the UK in ’77 I found the remaining players from the former Sunday league teams had returned to playing Saturdays, in part because of ongoing recruiting problems.
They had formed one of the expansion teams in the metropolitan league, away from the mainstream Uni Soccer A’s and B’s. Their player/manager/organiser was Klaus Czabania.
It was necessary to have a colour designation because of the other expansion teams of Adelaide Uni Soccer and we became “The Whites.” The others were Blues, Greens, Reds, Blacks and Graduates as well.
In the late ’70s increasing dissatisfaction with the evident lack of interest in the lower levels of the Federation led to the move to form a separate league. This was successfully negotiated with the formation of our own soccer league, an affiliate of the SA Soccer Federation but autonomous and with its own constitution.
The Collegiate Soccer League began in 1980 with the Whites as a founding member.
Following the retirement of Klaus in ’79 I became the organiser of the Whites and had the usual problem of a single team: ongoing recruitment.
From the late ’70s, through the ’80s into to the early ’90s, we didn’t train as a team. Those who wanted to, joined other Uni teams such as the Amateurs on Uni Oval. Games were played at “home” at West Beach on the flight path. They were good grounds, on sand so drainage was never a problem, and a choice of five or so pitches to share with other teams.
During the ’80s we had some outstanding players:
- Tony Hooi: Centre Forward / Dentist
- Steve Hemming: Striker / Anthropologist
- Tery & Norm Swan: Sweepers
- Frank Lancione: Keeper / Lawyer
- Peter Heinrick: Midfielder / Lawyer
- Ken & Alan Teo: Who learnt their soccer playing rugby in New Zealand
- Malcolm Bell: Striker / Medico
- Peter Hay: Defender
- Jonny Moriarty: Winger / Aboriginal activist, government bureaucrat and with his mate Charlie Perkins played soccer for Australia
We had a lot of fun playing soccer in the ’80s, occasionally having greate success but never going to the top of the league or better than a semi final in the cup. In 1983 after a 4-2 quarter final victory over the league champions and cup holders CBC, we were one up against Rostrevor early in the game, missed a sitter five minutes later and lost 3-1 in that semi final.
The end of the ’80s signalled a change in fortune for the Whites. Despite new players getting harder to find, we then all moved back to the Uni Ovals, and relinquished the West Beach grounds. This made it easier to attract players as we had the first ground off the footbridge and midweek training as a squad could begin.
In ’90 and ’91 the Whites began the rebuilding that in less then 10 years led them to dominate the Collegiate League.
Con Papadopalos and Chris Pazios then Denis were joined by Edgar and Armin Mayer with Heysen Struger as goalkeeper. We had a setback in the ’91 season when Windsor Gardens did a payback for a tackle on their centre forward and broke Edgar’s ankle, putting him out for eight weeks. But he was back and even batter for the ’92 season…
Topping Div 2 – the last game of the year, a memorable 7-2 victory over Mercedes at their schoolground, Edgar scoring five and Denis almost impassable as usual.
’93 we went to two teams and then added, over the next two years, players who would team up to make the Glamour Team of the the mid to late ’90s. Alex Ask, Steve Thornett, Leo Chandiok, Tony Duffy and Steve Bresolin making up for the loss of Edgar Mayer, the goal scoring machine of ’91 and ’92.
In the ’93 season the A’s lost only one game (to St Peters) and later on that year on the same day A’s and B’s were knocked out of the cup by St Peters (A’s) and Uni Blue A (B’s) after the B’s had them down 1-0 for about 80 minutes.
In ’95 we took out the Preseason Carnival Cup and polished our skills for the rest of the year. In ’96 we won the Collegiate Cup. In ’97 we bided our time and in ’98 took the League and Cup double.
For some years, across the end of the century and millenium, the Whites dominated the CSL, expecting to win every games, top the league and take the Cup. There were still many close games with traditional rivals which we usually won!
The outstanding players were goalie’s Steve Bresolin and then Danny Aikin, sweeper Robbie Alberton, stopper Simon Ward after Jan Pfitzner, midfield: the evergreen Armin Mayer, and up front ably assisted by Richie Coburn, the best centre forward in the league for ten years: Steve Thornett.
Around these players were 15 or 20 others in the teams over the years – these however were outstanding in their contributions.
The other outstanding contribution over the years from ’95 to ’04 (with a year away in ’97 in UK for family reasons) was made by John Whitehouse. He committed to coaching/organising the A’s and with assistance, the B’s, over that period – pushing hard to make the team better and better; elated with each victory and crushed by defeats of “his” team and then returning during the week to grind out two training nights all winter to get those better results on Saturday.
He’s now returned to the UK and the Uni Whites have moved into the second half of the first decade of th 21st century – rebuilding – training two nights a week and trying to play the beautiful game a little better and move from midtable back to the top. A new coach… new players… skills training… need to get a little bit tougher in attitude on the pitch… all the usual aspirations of our soccer players for the next decades of Uni White… this isn’t it!