Para Hills United Soccer Club Inc.
(Formerly Para Hills Junior Soccer Club)
57 Years of History
The inaugural meeting of the Para Hills Junior Soccer Club was held in March 1964 when the first committee was formed. Original members were Robert and John Eldridge, Chick Harris, John West, Andy Balter and Malcolm Owen. Andy was a State player, on the books of Budapest, and he took an advisory role only, but he was a name we could trade upon. Interestingly, in 1970 we acquired his transfer from Croatia and he became our Senior Team manager when we were in the Second Division of the Federation, and aiming for First Division status. Malcolm was the representative of the Para Hills Youth Club, from which our Under 18 side would be formed.
We advised the Far Northern Zone (now the Elizabeth and Districts Junior Soccer Association) that the club could field three teams in our inaugural season, Under 18, Under 14 District and Under 12 Primary School. As no pitches were available in the local area, the club were obliged to play all their home games in Elizabeth at the Ridley Road Reserve, the area that Adelaide United are currently using for their training facilities. The honour of the first goal ever scored belongs to Colin Heath (Under 12).
In May 1966, Robert Eldridge reported that the Para Hills School ground was now ready, and all Primary school games would be played there. In July the pitch on Liberman Road was ready for our District team games.
The Under 18s won their championship in our first season and moves were made to form a senior side for 1965. We discussed entry into the Third Division of the S.A. Soccer Federation with Mr Reed, the Federation Secretary, but we realised that we were not stable or financial enough to take that step. Accordingly many of our successful Under 18s found new senior clubs. But at the last moment we gained admission into the newly formed Sunday Industrial League.
We had 18 days’ notice to form a team and acquire a coach. We managed this and the remaining Under 18s, plus some of our junior coaches, supplemented by a few residents of Para Hills and surrounding districts, Para Hills Senior team took the field on Sunday 4 April, 1965, under the management of Frank MacDonald. We played all of our home games on Dauntsey Road Reserve in Elizabeth.
It was a fairly successful season, we finished third in a 12 team league which also saw us field a second side.
Thus encouraged, we again sought admission to the Federation and were accepted into the Third Division in 1966. We withdrew our Under 18s from the Far Northern Zone as we were compelled to enter a junior team into the Federation competition. A ground adjacent to Nelson Road had been promised by the Salisbury Council, but initially we played our home games at Kelsey Road, following an agreement with Salisbury United.
1968 saw the club as the strongest representative of the Far Northern Zone, fielding eight teams from Para Hills, plus two from Para Hills West Primary School. Colts and Juniors played in Federation Leagues, together with Seniors and Reserves, and we had maintained a team in the Industrial League, now called the S.A. Amateur Soccer Association, a total of 16 teams.
In 1969 an under 8 league was formed and our “littlies” were coached by Peter Meredith.
By 1970 we were fielding 23 teams each week.
Also, in 1970 the lower pitch at Nelson Road, (called the “Eldridge Ground” after Ernie Eldridge senior) was made available whilst the top pitch, (called the “Price Ground” after Wilf Price, a cricket club founder) became devoted to the willow and leather game.
This year also saw the introduction of under 7 teams. However, the under 7 and 8 teams had to play at Elizabeth every week as this is where the only mini-pitches were located.
By the 1971 season, the club administration was becoming unwieldy. With the inclusion of Para Hills East Primary School teams we were administering 32 teams that year. John Eldridge was about to leave the area so a rationalisation was necessary. Para Hills Junior Soccer club was formed as a separate administration, Para Hills West and Para East Primary Schools went their own ways, and the Amateur League teams separated to run their own affairs.
In 1973 the club transferred the playing of mini-pitch games to the local primary school and a year later the club mini-pitch moved to Liberman Road.
On October 26 1977, the new Para Hills Junior Soccer Club became an Incorporated body. This year also saw The Paddocks (Peter Meredith Reserve) emerge as the club’s new ground. However, the mini-pitches were still located at Liberman Road.
1980 saw the introduction of Life Membership to the club. This honour was bestowed upon Ken McLaren and John Southerton.
In 1981 the mini-pitches were finally re-located to The Paddocks. State Championships were also held at the ground that year.
1982 saw EDJSA introduce the modified rules competition.
On the 17th of September 1983, the club-room and canteen was first opened, Linda Pomery having the privilege of being the first canteen manager. The inaugural Somerset Cup was held on the same day.
1984 was the club-room and canteens first full season. The facilities proved very popular with all players and spectators from Para Hills and opposing clubs. Tom Forde was also honoured with life membership. 2006 saw the introduction of all-girl teams playing at the club in the South Australian Women’s’ Soccer Association.
The club has continued to build from strength to strength and can proudly be associated with the development of children playing soccer.
To reflect the introduction of senior teams the Para Hills Junior Soccer Club changed its name to the Para Hills United Soccer Club in April 2011.
** Many thanks to John Southerton for his time and assistance in researching our club history. **
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