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Australian Soccer
 In 1880 the first soccer match was played in Australia between a club called the Wanderers and Sydney King's School. The first Australian competition between six Sydney clubs in 1885 was for the Rainsford Trophy.
1888 saw the introduction of the Gardiner Cup for a competition between Sydney and NSW country sides (50 years later it was scraped).
In the 1950's, when there was a mass exodus of clubs from the Australian Football Association, They formed a rival group known as the Australia Soccer Federation, The breakwaway clubs poached many top players from overseas, this lead to FIFA, the worlds controlling body, suspending Australia from all international competition, it was not till 1963 that Australia was reinstated by FIFA after protracted negotiations and a compensation of $50,000 for poaching players.

The breakaway and suspension proved to be a blessing in disguise. Australia built up its strength, and by the 1970's, when the ban had long been lifted, was strong enough to win a place in the World Cup finals for the first time. This paved the way for the first ever national competition in 1977.
The National Soccor League (NSL) comprises 16 teams, from all over Australia. There have been many players of ilk that now play for oversea's teams, Mark Bosnich (formerly Sydney United), Mark Viduka (formerly Melbourne Knights), Ned Zelic (formerly Sydney Olympic & Sydney United),  Paul Okon (formerly Marconi), Kevin Muscat (formerly South Melbourne) and Stan Lazaridis (formerly West Adelaide).

 National League Champions of the 90's.

                                  2000/2001     Wollongong Wolves
                                  1999/2000     Wollongong Wolves
                                  1998/1999     South Melbourne
                                  1997/1998     South  Melbourne
                                  1996/1997     Brisbane Strikers
                                  1995/1996     Melbourne Knights
                                  1994/1995     Melbourne Knights
                                  1993/1994     Adelaide City
                                  1992/1993     Marconi Fairfield
                                  1991/1992     Adelaide City
                                  1990/1991     South Melbourne
                                  1989/1990     Sydney Olympic


  Adelaide: The force, as they are known, are one of the most successful club teams. They have participated in every National Soccer League season since the competition commenced.

Brisbane Strikers:  They are in their 10th season, they were accepted into the league for the 1991/92 season. They won a National Championship in 1997, winning 2-0.

Kingz:    This team created history with their inclusion into the National Soccer League, to become the first team from one country to participate in other countries National competition.

Marconi:   One of the three National Soccer League foundation Clubs. They have finished runners-up three times and have participated in a record 13 finals series.

Melbourne Knights:  Join in 1994. In  six seasons, they have participated in five grand finals, winning two and losing three.

  Newcastle United:  Joined for the 2000/01 season

   Northern Spirit:  Entered in the competition start of the 1998/99 season with the aim to become Australia's first fully professional club.

  Parra Power:    Backed by the Parramatta Leagues Club, they are one of the newest members into the league.

Perth Glory:  Joined to play at the start of the 1996/97 season. They get record crowds not seen in Australian Soccer for many years, in Perth the game of soccer could be serious rival to AFL. They were runners up in the 1999/2000 season.

South Melbourne:   Are one of the three clubs that have participated in every national season, South Melbourne with 2 other teams hold the record for the most number of National Championships, four.

Sydney Olympic:  Have missed only one season in the NSL, 1980. Best period for them was in the 1980's, when they made four Grand Finals and won two NSL Cups from four.

Sydney United:  Came into the National Soccer League in 1984, National Championship has eluded them.

  Wollongong: Joined the NSL in 1981, have made it through to the finals five times, winning in the 1999/2000 season.

Pride: Went for a new name and look for the 2000/2001 season, they where known as the Gippsland Falcons. They are based in the Victorian town of Morwell.


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