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North Geelong Warriors Football Club to host the 46th Australian Croatian Soccer Tournament

Pictured: Ivica Volarevic, John Didulica (North Geelong President and Chairman of Players Federation of Australia, Josip Skoko former Hajduk Split captain and Socceroo, Luke Pinjuh, Daniel Desa

6 October 2019 – North Geelong Warriors Football Club will host the 46th Australian Croatian Soccer Tournament in October 2020. 

The Australia Croatian Soccer Tournament is among the largest community soccer tournaments in Australia, having been hosted in every Australian state since 1974 and holds the honour of being the oldest national soccer competition still running in Australia. 

This four-day event has evolved into a legitimate international event with guests and teams now extending beyond Australia and New Zealand and including teams from Germany, Canada and the United States. 

It is estimated the event will attract more than $4million of economic benefit to Geelong with more than 1,200 participants taking part in over 120 matches, with an anticipated 10,000 people attending the event for football, gala events and business networking lunches. (Based on Australian Croatian Soccer Association 2018 Tournament figures)

North Geelong Warriors President, John Didulica, sees hosting the 2020 Tournament as an opportunity to build on the decades long legacy created across Australia whilst continuing the Warrior’s positive momentum as a regional powerhouse. 

“The interest in the Tournament compounds each year and we see it as perfectly aligned with our club’s own ambition to take transformative steps over the next ten years”, said Didulica.

“The Tournament is an incredibly engaging event for every segment of the community and, if run effectively, can provide a much-needed economic boost for tournament hosts. The positivity within the club has created a really strong volunteer base in recent times which should allow us to host an incredible 4-day event.” 

“We’re very proud to have been selected as hosts and it’s a great tribute to our volunteers, our community and the facilities that we have developed over generations.” 

Partnering with Local Government, neighbouring clubs and local businesses, in preparation for a large influx of visitors and participants, the tournament aims to create lasting memories and inclusive relationships within the context of sport and community. 

Mayor Bruce Harwood said the City of Greater Geelong was pleased to be supporting the event. 

“We’re rapt that Geelong has secured yet another major sporting event, giving us the opportunity to showcase our clever and creative city to visitors from across Australia and around the world,” Mayor Harwood said. 

“We have every confidence that the North Geelong Warriors will be outstanding tournament hosts, setting a new benchmark for community engagement that future hosts will strive to follow.” 

The tournament commenced with four teams and is now playing host to 60 teams across male, female and masters divisions and will feature a bonanza of soccer, corporate and social events. 

This is the fifth time the Warriors have hosted the event, with successful tournaments being held in Geelong in 1983, 1992, 1998 and 2008. 

North Geelong Warriors will ensure the event is a springboard to entrench it as the biggest and most successful soccer club in Geelong and among the leading in regional Australia. 

History of North Geelong Warriors Football Club 

For over 50 years, North Geelong Warriors FC has serviced the Croatian Community of Geelong and, as Geelong’s pre-eminent soccer institution, played a fundamental civic role. The club was founded to connect the broader Croatian community with each other, to celebrate their heritage and to help each other settle into their new homeland. Today the club boasts 408 players of all ethnicities ranging from under 5’s to the National Premier League Division 2 senior side and includes 9 female teams of the total 35 NGWFC teams.

The Club has the following former players represent their respective countries: 

•Australia Francis Awaritefe – Australia national team (1993–1996)

•Australia Steve Horvat – Australia U17 (1987), Australia U20 (1989), Australia U23 (1996), Australia national team (1994–2002)

•Australia Josip Skoko – Australia U20 (1993–1995), Australia U23 (2000), Australia (1997– 2007). 

•Australia Adrian Cervinski – Australia U23 (1994)

•Croatia Joey Didulica – Croatia national team (2004–2006)

•Australia Matthew Spiranovic – Australia U17 (2004–2005), Australia U20 (2006), Australia U23 (2007–2008), Australia (since 2008).

• Australia Ante Cicak – Australia national team U20 (2007) 

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