DURING a recent memorabilia collating exercise, a large honour board was unearthed containing committee member names for the defunct Western Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association (WAASSA) from 1988 to 2004.
Fully sanctioned amateur soccer, however, dates back to 1968 when the first controlling body was known as the Westralian Amateur Soccer League. Run by John Venn, following formation dialogue with the Soccer Federation of WA (SFWA) President Julius Re, the competition kicked off with eight teams. Queens Park had clinched the inaugural league title on goal difference to Subiaco with Metalux coming third.
Graylands Hostel finished bottom but continued in the amateur ranks until 1977 when they were hastily dumped from the body, which was now the Amateur Soccer Association of WA. Graylands had participated in the popular Busselton Carnival when told not to, due to the South West Soccer Association moving away from the ASAWA to affiliate with SFWA. The friction between ASAWA and SFWA from these events created a rift that festered until 1983.
Meantime, another amateur body had appeared on the horizon, called the Perth Friendly Soccer League. It was created under the guidance of Gavin Braithwaite when a late rush of players emerged in 1975 as a result of the Socceroos’ participation at the 1974 World Cup.
The ASAWA couldn’t accommodate new players into their already bulging ranks, consisting of three divisions and two reserve leagues, so Braithwaite took it upon himself to start a new competition.
From an original group of 12 teams consisting of mostly students, the following season expanded to 30 work-based and social clubs. The growth in support continued with each passing season, to the point ASAWA asked the now Perth Friendly Soccer Association to merge their teams into their ranks. Braithwaite, despite presenting his organisation to ASAWA prior, declined.
ASAWA – PASSA rivalry soon moved from the committee rooms to the football pitch with ‘representative’ matches between the two bodies. The first took place in October 1982 at Dorrien Gardens with PASSA emerging 3-0 winners. In fact ASAWA never beat their opposition in all future contests, the most enthralling being a 2-2 draw in May 1983 at Lake Monger Velodrome, which proved to be the perfect curtain-raiser to a SFWA State Team vs Queens Park Rangers clash.
Both associations eventually merged in January 1987, to become the Western Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association, with Gavin Braithwaite as inaugural President and Roger Males the vice-president.
WAASSA flourished as a highly successful organisation, administered by many highly respected people on the committee. Ian Jones, formerly a quality goalkeeper with Windsor Athletic, has a son (Brad) a keeper who featured with the likes of Liverpool and Feyenoord and the Socceroos.
Others include Paul Afkos, who helped establish Perth Glory with Nick Tana until it was taken over by Football West in 2005, George Pendreigh, Del Rochester, Michael Rosario, Vic Andrich, Ian Hooper and Alistair Mackay all made WAASSA soccer tick like clockwork.
*WA competed in the very first National Amateur Championships that took place in 1978 at Hindmarsh Stadium, South Australia. Pictured at the event are: Chris Peters (Captain, left), Dave Graves (Coach), Julius Re (Official), Frank Coupland (ASAWA President), Major Roy Wilkinson (ASAWA Secretary).
WA failed to win a game at that inaugural tournament but went on to win it the following year (1979) when it was held at Morley Windmills’ ground Wotton Reserve. It was during Western Australia’s 150th year anniversary.
Richard Kreider has dug deep in his vault to unearth another pic involving amateur officials, taken in Bob Brown’s Sports Forum shop in Perth in 1985 when former England star Trevor Brooking came to town. The people in the pic are Brian Haffenden OAM (PASSA President), Richard Kreider, Trevor Brooking and Peter Faulks (ASAWA secretary).
**Richard Kreider was a State Amateur goalkeeper for over 10 years, had two terms on the WAASSA board, as well as ran a successful WAASSA radio show on Radio 6NR. Richard is a member of the Football Hall of Fame WA Committee.