Australia national soccer team
World Ranking: 41
MOST CAPPED PLAYER:-
Mark Schwarzer (109 caps)
Tim Cahill (50 goals)
Best Result: Round of 16 (2006)
Best Result: Champions (2015)
The Australia national soccer team represents Australia in international men’s football.
Officially nicknamed the Socceroos, the team is controlled by the governing body for football in Australia, Football Australia, which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the regional ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) since leaving the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in 2006.
Australia is the only national team to have been a champion of two confederations, having won the OFC Nations Cup four times between 1980 and 2004, as well as the AFC Asian Cup at the 2015 event on home soil.
The team has represented Australia at the FIFA World Cup tournament on five occasions, in 1974 and from 2006 to 2018. The team has also represented Australia at the FIFA Confederations Cup four times.
Football in Australia
Soccer, also known as football, is the most played outdoor club sport in Australia and ranks in the top ten for the television audience.
The national governing body of the sport is Football Federation Australia (FFA), which until 2019, organised the A-League, W-League, and still organises the FFA Cup, as well as the men’s and women’s national teams (known as the Socceroos and the Matildas, respectively).
The FFA comprises nine state and territory member federations, which oversee the sport within their respective region.
Modern soccer was introduced in Australia in the late 19th century by mostly British immigrants.
The first club formed in the country, Wanderers, was founded on 3 August 1880 in Sydney, while the oldest club in Australia currently in existence is Balgownie Rangers, formed in 1883 in Wollongong. Wanderers were also the first known recorded team to play under the Laws of the Game.
A professional national league, the National Soccer League, was introduced in 1977.
The NSL was replaced by the A-League, in 2004, which has contributed to a rise in popularity in the sport.
Australia was a founding member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) before moving to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2006.
Australian soccer league system
The Australian soccer league system is the league structure for soccer clubs in Australia.
The league system in Australia since 1977 has involved one top divisional league controlled by Football Australia and many leagues run within each state below.
The National Soccer League stood from 1977–2004 as the top nationwide tier above the current state-based league systems, in 2005, the A-League was established as its successor.
The introduction of the National Premier Leagues in 2013 introduced a direct second tier of soccer in Australia, underpinning the A-League. The National Premier Leagues incorporated the existing state leagues as divisions with a nationwide end of season finals series.
In 2013, the National Premier Leagues rebranded 5 of the 9 top state leagues, and the remainder – with the exception of the Northern Territory – joined in 2014.
There is no promotion and relegation to and from the top-tier A-League, and promotion and relegation at other levels vary between different state systems.
A nationwide second-tier league competition with the working title Australian Championship has been proposed, with a start date of the 2021/22 season, and revised new start date from the late 2022 season.
Level 1 – A-League
The A-League is the highest-level professional men’s soccer league in Australia and New Zealand.
At the top of the Australian league system, it is the country’s primary competition for the sport. The A-League was established in 2004 by Football Federation Australia (FFA) as a successor to the National Soccer League (NSL) and the competition commenced in August 2005.
The league is currently contested by twelve teams – eleven based in Australia and one based in New Zealand.
Seasons run from October to May and include a 26-round regular season followed by a Finals Series playoff involving the six highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed the ‘Premier’ while the winner of the grand final is the season’s ‘Champion’. This differs from the other major football codes in Australia, where ‘premier’ refers to the winner of the grand final and the winner of the regular season is the ‘minor premier’.
Successful A-League clubs gain qualification into the Asian continental club competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL), also known as the “AFC Champions League”. In 2014, the Western Sydney Wanderers became the first and only winning Australian club.
Similar to the United States and Canada’s Major League Soccer, as well as other professional sports leagues in Australia, Australia’s A-League does not practice promotion and relegation.
Level 2 – National Premier Leagues
The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national association football competition in Australia that acts as the second tier of the sport in the country below the A-League.
The NPL consists of the highest level state league in each state-based federation within Australia.
In total the NPL is contested by clubs from eight divisions – these are ACT, NSW, Northern NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.
The NPL is overseen by Football Australia, in partnership with participating state-based member federations.
Since 2014, it has been sponsored by PlayStation 4 and thus officially known as the PS4 National Premier Leagues.