Canberra FC

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Canberra Croatia
Canberra FC.png
Full nameCanberra Croatia Football Club
Nickname(s)CFC, Canberra Croatia, Deakin
GroundDeakin Stadium
Coordinates35°18′50″S 149°06′20″E / 35.31389°S 149.10556°E / -35.31389; 149.10556Coordinates: 35°18′50″S 149°06′20″E / 35.31389°S 149.10556°E / -35.31389; 149.10556
ChairmanIvan Bulum
ManagerLuka Udjur
LeagueNPL ACT1
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Canberra Croatia Football Club is an Australian semi-professional soccer club based in the suburb of Deakin in the south of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. Founded in 1958 the club currently competes in the National Premier Leagues Capital Football.

Since 1960, Canberra Croatia has always competed in the top level of ACT soccer either side of a brief stint in the top level of NSW soccer between 1988 and 1994. CFC is also the most successful soccer club in ACT history with 23 league premierships and 18 finals championships and ACT Federation Cups collected.


Establishment and early years[edit]

Canberra FC was established in 1958 by the local Canberran Croatian community as Croatia Soccer Club but was simply known as Croatia. The club commenced competitive play and entered the ACT second division in 1959. After spending one season in the second division, Croatia SC was promoted to the first division.[1]

In 1960 the newly formed ACT Soccer Association, working under the title of Soccer Canberra, introduced new club naming regulations that prohibited names with ethnic ties. Croatia SC changed its name to Soccer Club HOPE in accordance to the new regulations. The name however was chosen to reflect the acronym of the Croatian Liberation Movement, who are known as HOP.[2]

SC HOPE won its first title in 1962, beating Kosciusko to the league Premiership crown. HOPE backed up this first title up with success in the finals series as the club added the Championship title to its honours list with a 7-3 victory over Kosciusko in the grand final.[3] HOPE additionally added the 1962 ACT Federations Cup and NSW Robertson Cup to complete a quadruple title haul. The club added a further two premierships and a championship to its cabinet between 1963 and 1966 as HOPE and Juventus battled it out in the league and finals for titles.

In 1967 the club changed its name back to Croatia with a slightly different full name of Croatia Deakin Soccer Club to reflect the suburb the club is from and based. Croatia finished the 1967 season as league runner-up to Juventus but claimed a 2-1 victory in the grand final over Cooma United.[4]

17 August 1969, Croatia Deakin claimed its fourth league title of its first full decade in ACT soccer and twelfth title overall (4 Premierships & Championships, 2 Federation Cups, 1 ACT Ampol Cup and 1 NSW Robertson Cup). Then on 11 November 1969, to complete the decade, Croatia Deakin opened its clubrooms, restaurants and bars on Grose St Deakin, across the road from the soccer ground. This new clubhouse and soccer facilities was the first of its kind in Canberra.[5]

70s and 80s[edit]

The 1970s and 80s saw the club continue accomplishment on the field with more premiership and trophy successes. The highlight of these successes was the three consecutive undefeated seasons between 1986 and 1988 when Deakin registered a total 42 wins, 6 draws, 0 losses, 174 goals for and 27 goals against.[6][7][8]

In 1975, Croatia Deakin competed in the inaugural full Croatian Australian Tournament (Croatian Cup). The tournament was established to provide Australian and New Zealand soccer clubs with Croatian heritage a cup competition to compete for following Melbourne Croatia's expulsion from the Victorian Soccer Federation in 1974. Sydney Croatia hosted the tournament with Croatia Deakin defeating the hosts 3-1 in the tournament final.[9]

In 1989, Croatia Deakin changed its name to Canberra Croatia and replaced Canberra City Griffins in the NSW Division One (highest league in NSW). Canberra Croatia finished its first season in NSW as runner-up to Melita Eagles[10] and lost the grand final 2-0 to the same opposition.

90s and 2000s[edit]

Canberra Croatia competed in the top division of NSW until 1995 with the club qualifying for finals five out of six seasons. Croatia finished league runner-up in 1990 and lost the grand final in 1990 and 91 to Wollongong Macedonia and Blacktown City respectively. The club also changed its official name twice during this period to Canberra Metro (91-92) and Canberra Deakin in 1993.[11][12]

In 1995 the club returned to ACT soccer and re-joined the ACT top division, by now renamed the ACT Premier League. Deakin marked its return to ACT soccer by winning the ACT Premier League with a fourteen-point advantage over second placed Shamrock Rovers and by defeating Juventus 3-2 in the grand final.[13]

In 2006, Canberra Deakin changed its name to Canberra FC before the start of the 2006 ACT Premier League season.[14]

24 June 2007 - 30 June 2007, Canberra FC participated in the inaugural ‘Croatian World Club Championship’ for Croatian diaspora in Zagreb, Croatia alongside other teams of Croatian heritage from around the world including Canada, USA, Germany, France and Austria. Canberra FC was a late entrant into the tournament after Sydney United had to pull out for financial and organisational reasons. The tournament was broken into two groups with the top teams playing off in the final and the second placed teams playing off for bronze. CFC topped Group B after a 5-1 victory over French club AS Croatia Villefranche, a 2-2 draw with SD Croatia Berlin and a 3-1 victory over HNK Zrinski Chicago. Canberra FC played Toronto Croatia in the tournament final and took a first half lead before a second half comeback by the Canadian club saw Canberra FC succumb to a final 1-3 defeat and claim silver in the tournament.

Canberra FC returned to compete in the Croatian World Club Championship in 2011 and 2015. Canberra FC finished with the silver, again, in 2011 with a 0-5 loss, again, to Toronto Croatia in the final. In 2015 Canberra FC finished fourth in the tournament with the side defeated 0-3 once more by Toronto Croatia in the bronze play-off.[15][16][17]

NPL and FFA Cup era[edit]

Canberra FC was a founding member of the NPL ACT in 2013 following Football Federation Australia’s national re-structure of soccer leagues in Australia.[18] Canberra FC finished its first NPL season as league premiers, seven points ahead of second placed Belconnen United. Deakin won the major semi-final against the same opposition 4-0 before succumbing 0-2 in extra time to Canberra Olympic at McKellar Park in the grand final.[19]

During the first four seasons of the NPL, Canberra FC won two league titles in 2013 and 2015 and lost four grand finals in a row between 2013 and 2016.[20][21]

23 March 2017, it was reported that Canberra FC had signed up to the recently formed Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) as a member of the organisation.[22] AAFC was set-up to represent National Premier League clubs interests at local, state and national levels.[23]

In 2018, Canberra FC won the ACT treble by claiming the League premiership, finals championship and the Federation Cup titles. Canberra FC's head coach, Paul Macor, then stood down from his position after just one season in charge post the grand final victory over Canberra Olympic. It was announced Canberra Olympic and Canberra United's Y-League assistant Luka Udjur would take over as head coach in 2019.[24]

Club identity[edit]

Colours and badge[edit]

               The club colours are red, white and blue reflecting the club's Croatian heritage. The badge depicts the flagpole of Parliament House, a symbol of Canberra, over red and white check reflecting the Coat of arms of Croatia.

Club name[edit]

The club was founded in 1958 as Croatia Soccer Club by local Croatian Australians, later being renamed HOPE, Croatia Deakin, Canberra Croatia, Canberra Metro, Canberra Deakin, Canberra FC before returning to the name Canberra Croatia after the abolishment of the National Club Identity Policy allowing teams to return to ethnic names.

Club Name Changes
# Name From To
1 Croatia 1958 1959
2 HOPE 1960 1966
3 Croatia Deakin 1967 1988
4 Canberra Croatia 1989 1990
5 Canberra Metro 1991 1992
6 Canberra Deakin 1993 2005
7 Canberra FC 2006 2020
8 Canberra Croatia 2020 Current

Home ground and facilities[edit]

Deakin Stadium (formerly Deakin Football Centre) is the home stadium of Canberra Croatia. It is owned by Croatia Deakin Football Club, who also own Canberra Croatia. The suburban ground went through a major reconstruction between 2005 and 2008 and was officially re-opened in 2008. The ground's official capacity is 1,500[25] but its record attendance is 2,782 (2016 NPL Grand Final between Canberra Croatia and Canberra Olympic).[26]


Current squad[edit]

As of 9 December 2017 [27]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Australia MF Aidan Brunskill
2 Australia FW Alex Oloriegbe
3 Australia DF Christian Pratezina
4 Australia Daniel Subasic
5 Australia FW Domenic Giampaolo
6 Australia MF Ian Stuart Graham
7 Australia MF Ivan Pavlak
8 Australia MF James Field
9 Australia MF Jordan Lamb
10 Australia Joseph Brown
11 Australia Julian Borgna
12 Australia MF Kofi Danning
13 Australia MF Kye Edwards
No. Position Player
14 Australia DF Marko Vrkic
15 Australia Matthew Waters
16 Ghana DF Michael Aikon Mensah
17 Australia GK Mitchell Kaye
18 Australia Niko Kresic
19 Australia Nikolaos Kalfas
20 Australia FW Robert Deeley
21 Australia DF Ross Costanzo
22 Australia MF Ryan Keir
23 Australia Sam Brown
24 England FW Thomas James
25 Australia MF Thomas Milicevic

Notable former players[edit]

Below is a list of players who have represented Canberra FC at senior or junior level and who have at least one senior or junior international cap for a FIFA sanctioned national team or at least one club cap for a top division national league.

Canberra FC Notable Former Players
Name National/Club Team Int Caps (G)
Australia Peter Buljan Australia national under-23 football team
Australia Andrew Barisic Gold Coast United (A-League)
Australia Kofi Danning Australia national under-23 football team 5 (1)
Australia Stan Dukic Canberra Cosmos (NSL)
Australia Ivan Gruicic Canberra City (NSL)
Australia Velimir Kupresak Sydney United (NSL)
Australia Ante Juric Australian national football team 4 (1)
Australia Steven Lustica Australia national under-20 football team 21 (3)
Australia Brad Maloney Australian national football team 6 (2)
Australia Ante Milicic Australian national football team 6 (5)
Australia Andy Rakic Sydney United (NSL)
Scotland Tom Sermanni Marconi Stallions (NSL)
Croatia Josip Simunic Croatia national football team 105 (3)
Australia Zeljko Susa Australia national under-23 football team
Australia Goran Talevski Hajduk Split (Prva HNL)
Australia Nikolai Topor-Stanley Australian national football team 4 (0)
Australia Walter Valeri APIA Leichhardt Tigers (NSL)
Australia Ivan Zelic Australia national under-23 football team
Australia Ned Zelic Australian national football team 34 (3)


As of 9 December 2017 [28]


Premiers (23): 1962, 1963, 1966, 1969, 1973, 1979, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018
Champions (16): 1962, 1966, 1967, 1978, 1979, 1987, 1988, 1995, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018
Winners (18): 1962, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018
  • ACT Ampol Cup
Winners (5): 1963, 1972, 1973, 1987, 1988
  • ACT Club Championship
Winners (12): 1977, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011


League Runner-up (2): 1989, 1990
Grand Final Runner-up (3): 1989, 1990, 1991
Winners (1): 1990
Runner-up (1): 1992
Champions (1): 1962


Champions (6): 1975, 1986, 1992, 1994, 2001, 2005
  • Argentina Cup
Champions (1): 1983/84
Runner-up (2): 2007, 2011

Season-by-season results[edit]

The below table is updated with the statistics and final results for Canberra FC following the conclusion of each National Premier League Capital Football season.

Champions Runners-up Third Place
Canberra FC Season-by-Season Results
Season National Premier League ACT NPL
Top scorer
GP W D L GF GA GD PTS League Finals Name Goals
2013 23 18 0 5 86 22 +64 54 Premiers Runner-up QF SF - Alex Oloriegbe 21
2014 16 8 1 7 51 28 +23 25 4th Runner-up - RU - Alex Oloriegbe 14
2015 16 11 3 2 53 27 +26 36 Premiers Runner-up QF 2R - Thomas James 19
2016 18 10 2 6 44 31 +13 32 4th Runner-up - QF - Thomas James 18
2017 18 9 4 5 45 21 +24 31 5th Semi-final - SF - Nikolaos Kalfas 7
2018 16 12 2 2 46 13 +33 38 Premiers Champions QF W R32 Thomas James 19

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  3. ^ "ACT Division One 1962". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  4. ^ "ACT Division One 1967". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Croatia Deakin Soccer Club". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  6. ^ "ACT Premier Division 1986". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  7. ^ "ACT Premier Division 1987". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  8. ^ "ACT Premier Division 1988". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  9. ^ Sutalo, Ilija (15 July 2005). Croatians in Australia: Pioneers, settlers and their descendants. Wakefield Press. p. 224. ISBN 9781862546516.
  10. ^ Stock, Greg. "1989 NSW State League First Division First Grade Final Table". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  11. ^ Howe, Andrew. "1990 NSW Division One final table". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  12. ^ "NSW Division One 1991". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  13. ^ "ACT Premier League 1995". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  14. ^ "ACT Premier League 2005". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Croatia Toronto na Poljudu obranila naslov". 2 July 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Treće svjetsko nogometno natjecanje hrvatskih iseljenika 2015" (PDF). Croatian Football Federation. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Završeno Svjetsko prvenstvo klubova dijaspore: Rakitićeve Pajde prve!". 5 July 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  18. ^ "FFA launch National Premier League for semi-professional state-based competitions across the country". Fox Sports Australia. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  19. ^ "ACT Premier League 1995". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  20. ^ "ACT Premiers". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  21. ^ "ACT Grand Finals". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  22. ^ Tiernan, Eamonn (23 March 2017). "Canberra NPL teams interested in Australian Association of Football Clubs concept". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Our Priorities". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  24. ^ Tiernan, Eamonn (25 November 2018). "Canberra FC coach steps down after winning the treble". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Deakin Stadium". Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  26. ^ "PS4 NPL: Olympic win back-to-back Grand Finals". Capital Football. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Canberra FC squad". Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Club Titles". Retrieved 9 December 2017.

External links[edit]