|Full name||Adelaide Croatia Raiders Soccer Club|
|Ground||Croatian Sports Centre, Adelaide|
|League||South Australia National Premier League|
|2014||FFSA NPL, 8th|
Adelaide Croatia Raiders is a soccer club in Adelaide, South Australia, that plays in the South Australian National Premier League. Its home ground is the Croatian Sports Centre in Gepps Cross, a northern suburb of Adelaide. It is a Croatian Australian-backed club and is also known by the name "Adelaide Croatia".
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The Adelaide Croatia Soccer Club was founded in 1952 by a group of Croatian migrants who named the club after their homeland. The group included Fahrudin Cerić, the then President, Cvjetko Milanović and Drago Pišpek.
The club affiliated with the SASFA and played in the metropolitan division for five years. Its first game was against a team from the (now closed) Philips factory at Hendon. Its first home ground was in the South Parklands on Greenhill Rd.
In 1954 Branko Filipi, a significant leader in the club's early history, became the club president and remained so for the next 14 years. Along with his enthusiastic committee, Filipi began securing the services of a number of promising recruits. In 1958 Adelaide Croatia entered into the fourth division and narrowly missed being promoted into the third division. That same year, the late Charles Perkins, more famous as an Aboriginal activist, joined the team. Perkins played as a captain/coach for two seasons. In his autobiography he reflected with fondness on his friendships with Adelaide Croats and other immigrants he met through the club.
In 1959 the club convincingly won the second division championship and secured a place in the first division for the first time. Once in the first division, Adelaide Croatia's fixtures and results were listed in the international football pools.
In 1960 the club moved to its new headquarters at Hanson Reserve. It remained there until 2000, when it moved to its magnificent sporting complex at Gepps Cross.
The club's first major milestone was in 1961 when Croatia defeated Cumberland 4-nil to win the Ampol Cup. The Advertiser, in its report on the match, wrote that no team in the state could have beaten Croatia. The 1960s proved to be a successful decade for the club in the South Australian State League, finishing in third place in 1961, 1962 and 1963, while finishing Runner-Up in 1965 and 1969. Despite these strong results it wasn't until 1980 that Croatia won the coveted first place in the South Australian State League. Since then Croatia has won the league on another four occasions: in 1984, 1988, 1997 and 2002.
In 1962 the club competed in the inaugural Australian Cup, the first nationwide club tournament held in Australia. The Raiders were one of 16 participants in the knock-out competition and were the first Croatian backed club to compete. The side lost its first round match, losing to Brunswick Juventus 3-1 at Melbourne's Olympic Park to see the club knocked out. The club would again compete in the Australian Cup twice more in 1963 and 1965.
The year 1977 saw the formation of the National Soccer League. Following the failure of Melbourne Croatia and Sydney Croatia in their applications for the league, Adelaide Croatia led a move backed by the Croatian Soccer Association of Australia which saw a proposal put forward for a Croatian 'super club' to enter the NSL; a club which would see the resources of all of Australia's Croatian clubs pooled together. Ultimately the submission failed.
A major highlight in the club's history came in 1985; as the champions of South Australia, Adelaide Croatia was invited to take part in the National Soccer League Cup. Adelaide Croatia had a remarkable run defeating both of Adelaide's NSL sides, Adelaide City and West Adelaide, 1-0 in the opening two rounds. The club lost in the quarter-finals to another NSL side, Sunshine George Cross. It was a valiant display seeing Croatia go down 1-0 in a tightly fought match.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable Former Players
- Richie Alagich - Australian Youth International
- Robert Bajic - NSL/A-League player
- Yakka Banovic - Australian International
- Michael Barnett - NSL player
- Joseph Barbaro - NSL player
- Peter Blazincic - NSL Player
- Louis Brain - Australian Youth International
- Mark Brazzale - Australian Youth International
- Gordon Briscoe - Prominent Australian Aboriginal activist
- Michael Cartwright - NSL player
- Craig Goodwin - A-League player
- Billy Graham - Australian International
- Ante Kovacevic - Former A-League player
- John Moriarty - Australian International
- Charlie Perkins - Prominent Australian Aboriginal sports figure and activist
- Peter Rankin - NSL player
- Nick Sabljak - Australian Youth International
- Mimi Saric - Australian Youth International
- Robbie Slager - NSL player
- Lemmy Vatsilas - NSL player
- Quentin Watkins - NSL player
- Ivica Jurkovic - Former Club Captain and Legend
- South Australian Champions: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1997, 2002
- South Australian Runner-Up: 1965, 1969, 1983, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2005, 2007
- South Australian Minor-Premiers: 1997
- South Australian Regular Season Runner-Up: 1992, 1995, 2003
- Federation Cup Winners: 1960, 1962, 1974, 1977, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 2003
- Federation Cup Runner-Up: 1959, 1998, 2005
- Coca-Cola (Top 4) Cup Winners: 1984
- Ampol Cup Winners: 1961, 1989, 1990
- South Australian Division One Champions: 1959, 1972, 1975
Sergio Melta Medal - South Australian Player of the Year
- 1965 - Billy Graham
- 2004 - Richie Alagich
- 2006 - Michael Cartwright
- 2009 - Richie Alagich
- 2010 - Richie Alagich
- 2012 - Nicky Orr
- List of Croatian football clubs in Australia
- Australian-Croatian Soccer Tournament
- Croatian Australian