NEARLY 50 years after it was founded by a group of German immigrants, the Melville Alemannia Soccer Club (MASC) still holds a special place in the hearts of its hundreds of former players, coaches and volunteers.
Established as a sporting group of Myaree’s Rhein-Donau German Club in September 1969, the club quickly began recruiting players of all nationalities after losing its first game to Gosnells City 14-0.
The next year it changed its name from Alemannia Soccer Club to Melville Alemannia to reflect its links with the local community.
Those bonds extended to the club’s nickname “The Titans”, a nod towards major sponsor Titan Ford.
Over the next two decades the men’s team encountered both highs and lows, its best period coming from 1980-1983.
In 1980 it finished third in the Soccer Federation of WA’s Second Division and the following year it just missed promotion to First Division on goal difference.
In 1982 Melville Alemannia earned a spot in the rebranded State League but its stay in the top flight competition lasted just one season, as it was relegated back to second division in 1983.
Founding member and long-time club secretary Heinz Gaschk and his wife Marianne shared a passion for women’s soccer and were instrumental in launching a female side in 1976.
It was a smart move – the women’s team proved substantially more successful on the pitch and produced close to a dozen State representatives including Australian international cricketer Judy Esmond as well as Tina Harding, sister of East Fremantle and West Coast footballer Paul.
Host of Radio Fremantle’s World Football Program Penny Tanner was another Melville Alemannia player who represented WA and also wrote a book, Soccer: No Longer A Gentleman’s Game in 1991.
The women won the First Division competition in 1987 after finishing runners-up the three previous years. Esmond was also crowned the competition’s fairest and best player in 1984.
Popular figures at the club who attended practically every men’s and women’s game, Mr and Mrs Gaschk, as well as Heinz’s brother Adolf, were among the first members to be granted life membership.
Mr Gaschk, who negotiated with the City of Melville to secure the use of the club’s current home ground John Connell Reserve in 1984, turns 90 in November.
The club is taking the opportunity to host a reunion at the Rhein Donau Club on Friday, August 12.
To register contact Debbi Toomath at debbi.toomath@|lionco.com.