ONE of WA’s oldest and most decorated soccer clubs has kicked off a season-long celebration to mark its 70th anniversary.
Perth Soccer Club, who began life as Perth Azzurri in 1948, is commemorating the rich history of the club with regular dinner presentations over the next three months for each era starting from the 1940s.
At each event past players, coaches, committee members and supporters will gather to remember past years.
The club launched its celebrations with an official function last month where Elio Nizzola, the last surviving member of the original Azzuri team, was one of a number past and present players in attendance.
Perth SC president and former Socceroo Gary Marrochi said the club’s success during the last 70 years was due to the united force among committee, sponsors, supporters and players.
“Past players have left the inner city area to live in the suburbs, but continue to bring their children to play for Perth SC,” he said.
One supporter, Guido D’Abbondio, who will be 96 in June, has supported the club since its inception.
“He is my father-in-law and has three daughters who married players from Perth SC. He continues to watch all home games at Dorrien Gardens,” Marrochi said.
A group of Italian migrants founded the club, looking to occupy their spare time playing soccer.
After a hard week in the working environment, the group came together at the WA Italian Club in West Perth and began to have a kick about on the weekend, which led to the club being formed.
After mergers with East Fremantle Tricolore and Balcatta Etna, the club eventually took the name Perth SC in 1995.
“Perth SC has had many players represent Australia at senior level, under-23 level and youth levels and provided the nucleus of the first Perth Glory team in the National Soccer League (NSL) back in 1996 and provided the first coach and assistant coach of the club,” Marrochi said.
Marrochi is one of a number of former Perth SC players to have represented the Socceroos, a list that includes Arno Bertogna, Sauro Iozzelli, Adrian Madaschi and Mark Birighitti.
He believed the club’s greatest achievement was its maintained success over the course of the last 70 years.
The club has recently completed the re-development of the rear training pitches and two female-specific change rooms.
“The hard work, especially over the last five years, to involve state and local government to provide a grant for the synthetic pitches at the back of the club house ensures the club’s future can be sustained,” Marrochi said.
He said he also wanted to see the club grow during the course of the next few years to provide a pathway for youngsters to higher level of competition.
“Perth SC will always be remembered as being a successful club, which always gave youth an opportunity to succeed,” he said.
“In regards to women’s football, we have not been very active in the past but are now making a concerted effort to provide a more professional environment for women’s football to run parallel with our senior men’s program.”
Perth SC has three senior teams, two girl’s teams and 26 junior teams with about 400 registered players.
“The club accepts any nationality and promising young players are given an opportunity to play in our league team if they show the right talent and dedication,” Marrochi said.
Perth SC is enjoying a strong season to celebrate its 70th year, sitting second in the National Premier League WA table after winning 3-0 against Forrestfield United 3-0 on the weekend.