Soccer in Australia
"A Football Code on the March and Building Momentum"
The Purists may be greatly outnumbered but 'Soccer' is still popular and very common
Given the competition between four different 'football' codes [five if you count American Gridiron which is also played in a small way here] what our closest rellies the British call 'football' we call 'soccer', yes, as do the Yanks!
It is still called 'football' by the purists, but being greatly outnumbered they are usually out-voiced when venting their disapproval at calling rugby or Aussie Rules 'football'.
Nonetheless despite more than a few problems over the decades 'Soccer' is still gaining momentum at both grass roots level and at the top International Level with Australia reasonably constantly getting to the World Cup in recent decades and the numbers of participants growing among junior grades. Two of the major reasons for this are firstly the ability of most of those interested to follow British and other international leagues and clubs and the desire of many parents for their children not to get injured in what they percieve are the 'brutal' sports of Aussie Rules and Rugby!
Soccer gained early momentum in Australia during the 1950's and '60's when there was a large intake of skilled workers from many European countries to work on projects such as the Snowy River Scheme and other infrastructure of a growing nation.
These immigrants brought with them their love of the game and the following of their home clubs and countries, tho it was not as easy to follow in those days.
Local clubs developed mainly in the cities where teams were initially centered around country based social clubs, thus creating a large degree of national post-war rivalry and in many instances violence both on and off the playing field.
Nevertheless teams like Polonia, Juventus, Hellas and others were started and quickly became popular in most capitals and grew into the great national competition found in Australia today developing household names from many young Aussie kids who just love the game, both women and men.