Soccer is a global phenomenon. In many parts of the world better known as football, its popularity never diminishes. You can not negate the influence this game had and has on people worldwide. So, it is no wonder that it has managed to reach even the distant corners of the known universe such as Australia.
When you think about it, it comes as no surprise as we are talking about the former British colony. In the decades behind us, the sport of soccer has reached its peak one could argue. With the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, we’ve seen unprecedented rivalry and games taken to a whole nother level.
The question we must ask is how well the global popularity of this sport translates to Australia. The Aussies have a lot of passion for soccer don’t doubt it. After all, their national selection is called The Socceroos. They’re not one of the most successful national teams on the planet, but they’re a frequent participant in World Cups as of late. The sport is also popular nationally as seen in their domestic league and its development. In the article below we are going to talk about the growing passion for soccer in Australia.
Australian Domestic League
The sport of football in Australia as we know it today was created back in 2004. Before that, the soccer league was known as the National Soccer League before changing its name to A-League. Initially, it was composed of eight teams. The competition we have today has 12 teams battling for the prize to be an Australian Champion. The current champions are the Central Coast Mariners.
They secured the title after winning in the final of the playoffs. During the season you also have to be declared the champion of the regular season and they’re called premiers, and this title belongs to Melbourne City.
At the moment the team with most titles and most premierships is Sydney FC as they hold five and four titles respectively. An interesting fact is that eleven teams are from Australia while one is from New Zealand. The season lasts from October to May, and it consists of regular 26-season games and finals playoffs. This is where the distinction in titles comes from. The regular season winners are called Premiers while those who win the playoffs are called Champions.
Australian teams also participate in the AFC Champions League. It is a cup competition for teams from all over Asia. The only Aussie team that managed to win the ACL are Western City Wanderers making them one of the most successful Australian teams on the international level.
The rise of soccer in Europe, Asia, and on the global level led to expansion in the land down under too, which is no wonder considering the global situation. When you put it all together it is no wonder that today you have many soccer betting sites in Australia such as https://aussiebet.com/betting-sites/soccer/.
While the A-League doesn’t have a storied history as some of the most popular competitions on the global level it has been around for two decades. During that time the league gave birth to many legends and hosted a few international ones. The player with the most appearances on Australian soil is Leigh Broxam with 371 appearances, while the title of the best scorer in the land down under belongs to Jamie Maclaren who netted 144 goals.
To elevate Australian soccer on a global scale the teams from the land down under tried their best to attract some of the best players from all over the globe. We could argue that they had neither the money nor the reputation of the leagues in the Middle East, USA, or China to attract the top talent. Nonetheless they still managed to draw in a few superstars.
Yes, the majority of them came at the tail end of their career, but we’re talking about some household names in the history of the game. The names you’ll recognize immediately include Alessandro Del Piero, Harry Kewell, William Gallas, Tim Cahill, Damien Duff, Luis Garcia, Robbie Fowler, Emil Heskey, and Dwight Yorke among many others.
One of the most compelling reasons why Australia was able to develop a massive passion for the sport of football is their national team. The Socceroos are one of the finest national teams in sports on the continent. Of course, they can’t compare to rugby or cricket but you get the point. It was hard enough to gain international traction considering that it is not among the top two sports in Australia.
Nonetheless, they have managed to put Australia on the football map of the world. It was easy to do this when they had six participations in the World Cup. The inaugural one happened way back in 1974. They went on a thirty-year hiatus. But since reentering the tournament in 2006 they have qualified for every WC since. The player with the most caps is Mark Schwarzer, leading the way with 109 caps.
One of the best players in Australian football of all time and the most prolific national team goal scorer is Tim Cahill with 50 goals to his name. The biggest success of the Socceroos came in 2015 when they won the Asian Cup. In addition to the two we already mentioned, some of the most notable players in Australia’s soccer history include names such as Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Alex Tobin, and Mathew Ryan.
The players above hold the most caps with the national team. Names that you will recognize but haven’t managed to win too many caps with the Socceroos are Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, and Mark Bresciano. On the coaching side of things, you now have an Australian coach, Ange Postecoglou coaching Tottenham Hotspur. This is just one proof of how far Aussie soccer has come.
The fact that there is a growing passion for soccer in Australia can no longer be neglected. Yes, the focusremains on the Aussie Football Rules, rugby, and cricket. That will not change anytime soon, but it is nice to see that things are shifting the direction of the sport in the land down under. With an AFC Asian Cup on the horizon this January, The Socceroos have another chance to elevate Australia’s passion for this sport even further.