Pembroke Old Scholars Soccer Club (“POSSC”) was established in 1998, from which time it has competed in the Collegiate Soccer League (CSL). From fielding one team from 1998-2002, POSSC has grown rapidly in recent years and now fields 6 teams, with over 100 registered players.
The club was founded by Dave Barrett in 1998, and for the first several years it was he who almost single handedly ran the club, both on and off the field. Fittingly, Dave was made POSSC’s inaugural life member in 2005 and having himself won 3 A grade best & fairest awards, the Dave Barrett Medal is awarded to the A grade’s best & fairest player each season.
Between 1998 and 2002 POSSC had only one team and it competed in the CSL A2 division with mixed fortunes. The club competed well in its first few seasons, finishing in the top half of the table each year. The club went through a transitional season in 2001 and was unlucky to finish bottom of division A2. However, the club bounced back in 2002, finishing second in division A2 and reaching the quarter-finals of the Collegiate Cup. A particularly memorable day that season was the 6-1 demolition of the eventual champions that season, Uni SA Wanderers.
In 2003 the club fielded two teams for the first time. This involved a move out of division A2, with the A grade team competing in division A1 and the B grade team competing in division B1 of the CSL. Both teams embarked upon a steep learning-curve and despite some good performances from both sides, the As finished seventh (out of twelve teams) and the Bs finished tenth (out of twelve teams).
In 2004, thanks to a large influx of new young players, the club fielded 3 teams. 2004 also saw the first appointment of a paid coach, Tony Radic. Under Tony’s guidance, the A and B grade teams showed real improvement that season and the traditional top sides now knew that POSSC were to be underestimated at their peril.
The following season, 2005, was a memorable one for POSSC, with its A grade team winning the division A1 league title – the club’s first trophy. Tony’s 3 year plan had gone ahead of schedule and despite being the team with the youngest average aged players, POSSC A’s won 14 of their 18 league games that season, with 4 losses and no draws. In true Pembroke fashion, they didn’t do it the easy way though. On the last day of the season, needing to win the game to secure the championship, ours A’s were down 1-0 with barely a few minutes left. But fate was on our side and we managed a dramatic comeback to win 2-1 to secure the title and spark mass celebrations.
2006 saw POSSC win its second piece of silverware, with the A’s winning the Collegiate Cup. Having had a disappointing league season, the A’s peaked at the end of the season to knock-out Unley A’s and Mercedes A’s on the way to the final. The opponents in the final were Rostrevor A’s, who had won the A1 league title that season. A rousing pre-game speech from Tony was followed by a great performance and a deserved 2-0 win. The celebrations that night have gone down in Pembroke folklore and, as a result, the Chairman of the CSL, Michael Hihimanis, kindly donated a new Collegiate Cup trophy in 2007.
The POSSC B grade were also now emerging as a force by 2006, with the competition for places from the A2 side having the desired effect. The B’s had cemented their place in a clear top 4 in the B1 division and progressed to the semi-finals of the Collegiate Cup. The POSSC A2 team, meanwhile, were developing an unenviable wooden-spoon collection, facing the perennial problem of having their best players promoted to the A or B grade teams.
Season 2007 saw both the A’s and B’s finish 4th in their respective leagues. It was a measure of how far the club had come that both teams regarded this as a disappointment. The A2’s benefited greatly from the coaching of Tom Slivak, who also regularly pulled on the boots to help out notwithstanding his own injury problems. Though they still finished in the bottom half of the table, they were a competitive team and no push overs for the title contenders.
In 2008 POSSC introduced a 4th team for the first time, with the CSL also having 4 divisions for the first time. POSSC welcomed a new head coach with a long affiliation with soccer at Pembroke School, Jim Muir. With Sam Newman as B grade coach and Adam Steinhardt as fitness coach, POSSC benefited from the new coaching team. In the most competitive A1 division for many years, the POSSC A’s again finished 4th and it was certainly a season of what might have been.
The B’s had an excellent 2008 season and found themselves effectively in a grand final, knowing that a 2-0 win on the last day versus Unley would deliver POSSC the elusive B1 league title for the first time. However, notwithstanding the great support for POSSC that day, Unley ran out deserving winners on the day and the B’s slipped to 3rdplace. The POSSC C’s and D’s struggled in 2008, both finishing in the bottom half of the table as they struggled to regularly compete against the A and B teams of smaller clubs.
In 2009 POSSC again fielded 4 teams. The A’s had a fantastic season, only losing 1 game yet still unable to clinch the title, falling 1 point short. The D’s had a similar season, falling just 3 points short of the title. The B’s and C’s struggled throughout the 2009 season, but the younger members of the teams showed there were times to look forward to for POSSC.
The 2010 season finally provided a breakthrough for the A’s, in a memorable season that saw them snatch the title from rivals Mercedes on the final day. This final day would go down in POSSC folklore, with club champion Michael Case scoring the winning goal in the dying minutes, prompting jubilant celebrations. It was the first title under the guidance of head coach Jim Muir. 2010 also saw the addition of a fifth POSSC team, and the second in Division 4, creating a friendly rivalry within the club. While Pembroke Blue struggled to find form, Pembroke Gold finished a close second, proving an indication that POSSC intended to remain competitive in this division.
In 2011, Pembroke Gold had a stunning season winning the Division 4 league on goal difference over rivals Mercedes. The combination of old scholars fresh out of school and experienced POSSC players proved too much for the other teams, with Pembroke Gold scoring 90 goals and conceding only 9 in 18 games. The A’s, B’s and C’s had disappointing seasons comparatively, all finishing mid-table and unable to find consistent form. POSSC was committed to become more competitive across all divisions.
The 2012 season saw POSSC continue their success, with the D’s going back to back and winning the league on goal difference over Mercedes again. The D’s produced crazy numbers, scoring 117 and conceding only 8 in 18 games with striker Steven Chapman scoring an incredible 42 goals, a CSL record. The C’s had a strong season, finishing second, whilst the B’s and A’s again finished mid-table. The 2012 season had seen a coaching change, with Jim Muir stepping down, and being replaced by former club president Ross Callow.
The 2013 season is fondly remembered by all involved with POSSC that year, with the club taking out three titles. The A’s had an excellent season with only one loss, and won the title under the guidance of coach Ross Callow. The new 2B team (formerly the D team) won their third title in three years, with club president Adam Steinhardt keeping his team competitive as ever, despite shifting to a higher division. The C’s also took out their title by 3 points, with player/coach Elliot St Claire leading his team to victory over the ever-competitive Rostrevor. The club also added a sixth team, in the fifth division, making it one of the largest CSL clubs.
2014 was a season of ‘what-ifs’ for the POSSC. The A’s defeated Grads Red in the Super Cup Final at the end of a promising pre-season. All teams were competitive during the year, with all 5 near the top of the table mid-season but ultimately none could replicate the success of the previous season. The A’s became the victim of too many draws, while the B’s couldn’t quite hold on in a really competitive season. The 2B’s managed fourth in a rapidly improving division. The C’s and the team affectionately known as the Chins both finished in third place in their respective divisions.
2015 was a successful season for POSSC. After a slow start, our A grade team went on an impressive run of results in the second half of the season, which culminated with them winning the Collegiate Cup. Our A’s defeated Windsor Gardens 3-1 in the cup final in a fantastic team performance. 2015 also saw our B grade team, coached by Adam Steinhardt, win the division 1B title for the first time in the club’s history, sealing the title on the last day with a 4-0 win over Unley and then celebrating in style at the wrap party. The club fielded 5 teams in 2015, with our C’s and D’s finishing 3rd in their divisions and our 5th team finishing mid-table in division 5.
In 2016 our A’s won the Super Cup final against reigning league champions Rostrevor and started the season in dominant fashion. However, they unfortunately lost a number of key players mid-season and went on to finish 3rd in the league. Our B’s successfully defended their league title, winning division 1B for a 2nd time and by 5 points. Competing in tough divisions against other clubs’ first or second teams, our C’s finished mid-table and our D’s finished 2nd, with a good group of young players blooded by new D’s coach (and former Mercedes A grade coach!) Michael Durrant. POSSC fielded 6 teams in 2016, with Pembroke Gold and Pembroke White competing with one another in division 5. Pembroke Gold finished 2nd in that division with Pembroke White managing to avoid the wooden spoon.
2017 proved to be a transitional season for our A’s, with many young or new players making their A grade debuts. The team rallied in the 2nd half of the season, ultimately finishing 5th. Our B’s were unable to make it three league titles in a row, but finished runners-up in Michael Durrant’s first season as B grade coach. There was, however, great success for the club with our C grade team, coached by Steven Chapman, winning division 3 and our D grade team, coached by Matt Hawyes and Matt Turner, winning division 4. Once again, much fun was had celebrating at the wrap party. POSSC again fielded 6 teams in 2017, with two teams in division 5. Our 5th team, Pembroke Gold, coached by Simon Whittaker, became the first POSSC team to go undefeated in the league for a season, but remarkably finished runners-up to Immanuel. Our 6th team, Pembroke White, enjoyed a good season under coach Reece Bruinsma and finished comfortably in mid-table.
2018 saw POSSC celebrate its 20 year anniversary with a dinner on the opening day of the season and saw the Pembroke Old Scholars Girls Soccer Club and POSSC play home games together on a Saturday for the first time in the home fixture versus Mercedes. The highlight of the season was the C's winning back-to-back league titles, with coach Steven Chapman's team going undefeated for the entire league season in the process. Our remaining 5 teams were all very competitive notwithstanding some player availability issues during the World Cup. Our A grade team finished 5th in division 1A and made it to the quarter-finals of the Collegiate Cup. Our B grade team finished 3rd. Our D grade team finished 2nd in division 2B and also went on a giant-killing run to the quarter-finals of the Collegiate Cup. Our 5th team were unlucky to again finish 2nd in division 5 and our 6th team put in a very credible performance to finish 5th in the newly established division 3B.
Season 2019 saw POSSC do away with its Kings branding and revert to the name Pembroke Old Scholars Soccer Club, albeit with an unofficial nickname of the Canaries and new club logo featuring a canary. Daniel Fenton’s dream finally came true! The club also saw a larger-than-usual transition in its playing group, with many players bidding farewell and a large influx of new players, particularly our friends from the now-defunct Thebarton Soccer Club. May saw the erection of the Mannpole, the nickname given to the Club's new floodlight tower at Park 17, in honour of Steven Mann, who spearheaded the fundraising, specifications and administrative side of the project, with great work and support from Michael Case. Between them they secured a $25,000 State Government grant for the project, as well as POSA funding for the balance. The new pole doubled the Club's usable training space, allowing the Club to return to a single training night, meaning greater unity between squads, as well as greatly lowered administrative burdens. On the pitch, we fielded 6 teams and enjoyed success with the A grade winning the Collegiate Cup, and our 5th team finally winning a well-deserved league title, taking out division 3B. Our 6th squad achieved their highest-ever finish, finishing 2nd in division 5.
The 2020 season almost never happened, with the COVID-19 Lockdown causing all sport to be suspended between March and late June. During the break we could not train or play together, but the community spirit remained great, thanks in no small part to the widespread participation in the Facebook Live fitness sessions conducted by Michael Case from his garage. A shortened season meant a revamped format in some divisions. There was no Collegiate Cup in 2020 and no Super Cup. For our A's and B's, there was a 14 week season where teams played some opponents twice and others only once, followed by a finals series for the top 4. In the other grades, an ordinary league season was conducted, albeit with only 8 teams per division, meaning a 14 week league season with no finals.
Fielding 5 teams, the overall performance of our teams was strong across the board.
Our 5th team, coached by Reece Bruinsma, finished 2nd in the new division 6, and their camaraderie saw them become the self-appointed "People's Team".
Our 4th team, coached by Dylan Cook, finished 3rd in a tough division 5, developing a number of young players along the way.
Our 3rd team were the stand-out performers, winning division 4 (which now essentially consists of the 3rd teams of clubs with teams in division 1A) and thereby delivering the club it's 20th trophy. This meant it was back-to-back championships for player-coach Simon Whittaker, who was ably assisted by James Martindale. It was also a particularly special year for striker James Tripodi, who won the CSL best and fairest award for division 4, as well as being joint winner of our club's best and fairest award for division 4 with Kieran Lindner, plus he won the Michael Case Moment medal and the POSSC Golden Boot! A greedy striker indeed.
Our B's, coached by Steven Chapman, had an impressive and exciting finish to the season to end in 4th spot and qualify for the finals. Despite performing very well in their semi-final versus league leaders Rostrevor, the B's could not convert their chances and were eliminated 2-0.
Our A's, coached by Ross Callow, had a heartbreaking season. With several new young and talented recruits and a tough fixture list, the team recovered from a slow start to post a run of 9 matches in a row unbeaten, comprising 7 wins and 2 draws. Sadly, this was not enough and they came 5th in the league, missing out on the finals series on goal difference.
In addition to the above summary of the team achievements to date, it should be noted that POSSC has had a considerable number of its players receive individual awards from the CSL. In particular, the A grade captain, Michael Case, has won the award for the best & fairest player in the CSL A1 division on four occasions. For full details of individual honours won by POSSC players, please refer to the honour board.