History & Life Members
Since its inception in 1971, for more than 50 years the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League (BASL) has been providing the opportunity for men, women and children of all ages and abilities to play our great game of soccer/football. Representing a collection of clubs from throughout the Loddon Mallee and Goulburn Regions, our Association prides itself on our community values and providing an environment that encourages, develops and promotes participation in Football from within our many communities.
When players, mainly of European origin, played together as a Bendigo team across Victoria. Soccer in this era owes much to Mr Walter Clayton who placed the first notice in the Bendigo Advertiser calling for soccer players to play as a Bendigo team.
Late in 1969, Michael John and Ted Ellinghaus were among a small group of players that got together with other migrants to play soccer each Sunday at Long Gully Oval. This continued through 1970 when it was considered there was enough interest to form 4 teams for the inaugural 1971 season. This led to the formation of the Bendigo Soccer League on November 8th, 1970. This was the first "new" soccer league founded across Australia in more than 17 years at the time, and was based on an organisation with no equipment, no money, no coaches, and not even a ground to play on.
In 1971 the League commenced with four teams - Golden City, Strathdale, South Bendigo (Now Spring Gully) and the Bendigo Institute of Technology (Now La Trobe University). On the 4th of April 1971, there were 60 registered players, fully kitted out, to kick off the inaugural Bendigo Soccer season at the newly opened Beischer Park Oval. By the end of the 1971 season Golden City were Champions, Ted Ellinghaus was the leading goalscorer, and Tony Longano was voted the Most Consistent Player.
As the league grew and evolved throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, new clubs were added which have since come and gone, or now exist and compete in other regions, such as Maryborough, Puckapunyal, Seymour, White Hills, Deniliquin, Cohuna and more. Additionally during this growth period several modern day clubs were added from Eaglehawk, Echuca/Moama, Castlemaine, Kyneton, Colts United, Epsom and Swan Hill, with each club basking in their share of junior and senior success across the journey.
Soccer in Bendigo was not just a sport for the men of the community though, with various champions on the game such as Loris Browning leading the charge to implement the start of the Junior competitions in 1972 and subsequently the Women's competition, which originally kicked off in 1975 as the Bendigo Women's Soccer Association, before becoming an official part of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League.
Growing from strength to strength since the turn of the century, the popularity of our game has skyrocketed and cemented Bendigo as one of the strongest regions in Victoria and the nation. In recent years a concerted effort and investment in the Women's game has seen BASL become a flag bearer for female football in the state, offering a dedicated participation stream for females from Under 9's through to Senior Women's Football.
The league underwent it's most recent changes in 2017 with the addition of 4 neighbouring clubs following the closure of the Goulburn North East Football Association. Shepparton South, Shepparton United, Shepparton SC and Tatura SC all joined the association to form the current composition of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League.
As a league we pay our tributes to all those who have come before us and have laid the foundations for what we know today. We hope the future of the BASL can only build from the successes of the past.