Brunswick Zebras FC
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|Full name||Brunswick Zebras Football Club|
|Founded||1948 as Brunswick Juventus|
|League||Victorian State League Division 4|
|2017||11th (relegated from State League 4)|
Brunswick Zebras Football Club is an Australian association football (soccer) club based in Brunswick, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. The club currently competes in the Victorian State League Division 4 (North).
The Brunswick Zebras Junior Soccer Club, formed in 1996 when the senior team merged with Bulleen and Box Hill, still operates from the original Brunswick Juventus clubrooms at Sumner Park, East Brunswick. From 1984, the Brunswick Juventus club participated in the National Soccer League, in which they were champions in 1985, and the Victorian Premier League, in which they won eight titles. In 1996 the senior side merged with the Bulleen Lions and Box Hill Inter to form the Bulleen Inter Kings, who later changed their name to the Bulleen Zebras and are currently known as the Moreland Zebras.
The club was formed in 1948 as Brunswick Juventus by Italian migrants inspired in the Italian club from an amalgamation of several smaller clubs. Brunswick Juventus became the dominant side in Victoria in the 1950s, winning six titles, including five consecutive titles from 1952 to 1956, and were arguably the club which ushered in the European migrant dominance of Victorian football which remains to the present. In the 1960s, while the club remained more than competitive, the rise of other migrant clubs, principally South Melbourne, saw this dominance ended and the club waited until 1970 to add to its trophies.
The club largely struggled in the league during the 1970s after their 1970 championship, though there were also four Dockerty Cup wins during this time. The club was not a foundation member of the NSL in 1977. In 1980 the club changed its name from Juventus to Brunswick United Juventus. When the NSL created the conference system in 1984, Brunswick finally joined the national league ranks, and after reaching the finals in their debut season, followed it up with their greatest achievement, the 1985 NSL title, defeating Heidelberg, South Melbourne and Preston in the southern conference play-offs before eventually defeating Sydney City over two legs in the grand final.
In 1986 Brunswick finished first on the southern conference table, but consecutive losses to Adelaide City and Footscray JUST in the finals ended their season and was the last season in which they were to be a force at national league level. An eighth-place finish in 1987 was followed by a 13th-place finish in 1988 and relegation to the state leagues where decent performances saw them win their eighth Victorian title in 1991. Rejoining the NSL for the 1993/94 season as Brunswick Pumas and later Melbourne Zebras, the club struggled for two seasons before, in 1996, it was demoted to the Victorian Premier League competition, Victoria's top men's senior division.
Between 1997 and 2011, the senior club, entered into a series of mergers and relocations, but have returned to Moreland, the municipality surrounding Brunswick, to become the Moreland Zebras. During this period, the senior team were Victorian Premier League runners up in 1997, Victorian Premier League Champions in 1998 as the Bulleen Inter Kings, and became champions of Victoria for the 10th time in 2004, playing as the Bulleen Zebras.
Name change and new club emblem
In 2008 the junior club changed its name from Brunswick Zebras Junior Soccer Club to Brunswick Zebras Junior Football Club and also created a new club emblem.
In 2008, the junior club also saw the initiation of a number of innovative practices with the introduction of Small Sided Games (SSG) for children 6 to 10 years of age, as well as a highly successful coach development program. The Zebras SSG program was regarded as the "benchmark" for SSG programs in the state of Victoria.
Women's teams in every age group
The Brunswick Zebras Football Club has a women’s team in every age group including two senior women’s teams. At the end of the 2008 season the club had 200 female players.
Top 10 clubs in Victoria
With over 550 registered players the Brunswick Zebras Juniors are the largest football club in Victoria's North West Region and are in the top 10 clubs in Victoria. It represents the largest sporting club in the Melbourne metropolitan region.
- National Soccer League Champions: 1
- National Soccer League Southern Division Champions: 1
- National Soccer League Southern Division Minor Premiers: 1
- Victorian Champions: 8
- 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1970, 1991
- Victorian Runners-Up: 8
- 1962, 1967, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2007
- Dockerty Cup: 5
- 1960, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1977
- Provisional League 3 N/W Champions: 1