Australian Chinese Soccer Association celebrates nearly 25 years of serving community
Twenty-five years since forming, the Australian Chinese Soccer Association (ACSA) continues to bring people of all backgrounds together through a mutual love of football.
The association was first formed in 1995 by a group of passionate Australian-Chinese soccer players in the lead-up to a visit to Australia by a well-known amateur soccer team from Hong Kong.
Stephen Lee, the current chairman in the ACSA committee, was part of this founding group and he said the organisation has grown enormously over the years, with it having become home to a diverse group of people.
“In the first year of running, we had eight teams in our league competition, and then we grew to 12 teams,” he recalled.
“Currently, we have young players, two open divisions, and now because many of our players are getting older, we have a 45-and-older division.
“This year, we also have about 30 players who are 60 years and older.”
Over the years, ACSA has travelled overseas with players for various tournaments, and this year the organisation is sending players to Auckland for the World Chinese Football Association Evergreen Cup tournament in September.
The community association also works closely with other groups, including NSW Police, Football NSW, Sydney FC and local councils.
“We were invited by NSW Police to play in the Street Soccer program, which is where disadvantaged people come together to play in an indoor competition,” Stephen said.
“Also, when international teams come from China to Australia and they need help, two or three of our committee members will offer to help because we know the language and the culture.”
As well as this, ACSA is involved in the organisation of a mini Asian Cup tournament, which has been running in Centennial Park since the Asian Cup in 2015.
The organisation also aims to connect their community through ways outside of playing soccer.
“Ten years ago, there was a big earthquake in China and our association organised a couple of banquets to raise money where we raised $80,000,” Stephen said.
During the Asian Cup in 2015, a few of us were also community ambassadors, and our role was to encourage more people to come and watch the matches, and learn more about the tournament.
For the next few years, Stephen said he hopes he can encourage more young people to play with ACSA and that the organisation will continue to promote soccer within the community.