Kariong Soccer Club was formed after a small group of parents met in October 1989 to gauge the interest of families from the relatively new but fast growing Kariong area, for a local soccer club. This club was to provide a sporting outlet for the many young children who either did not participate in a sport or needed to be transported to another club for training and games. It also provided a means for some parents to re-enter their past or forgotten glories on the field by becoming the muchpraised coach.
The CCSA admitted Kariong to the Association as the 19th club for the 1990 season and hence the hard work began.
Club colours of red and yellow were chosen, and it was decided we would be known as the Kariong Comets. An area at Mt Penang was provided adjacent to the now heritage listed buildings to use as the home ground. Club meetings were held in the homes of the committee members in a very informal atmosphere. Fifty-five players in six junior teams, oldest being an U9, were fielded in the first year. Each team chose a nickname related to the clubs space theme, such as the U/6 Invaders, the U/7 Martians, and yes the U/7 Ewoks. Ground duties in 1990 involved setting up a canteen in the open. Selling confectionery, drinks kept on ice along with hot dogs and tea, coffee using a gas cooker.
In 1991, registrations increased to 105 with the inclusion of our first senior A/A team. Many players were Dads of the juniors itching to take to the field to show their youngsters how the game should be played. Needless to say the theory was far in advance of the evidence shown on the field. Junior sides expanded to include U/10 and U/11 squads, the first juniors involved in competition. By mid 1991 the canteen was less dependent on the weather conditions with the purchases of our red and yellow tent.
Our first Grand Final winners came in 1992 with a very successful year from our oldest juniors, the U/12s.
By 1993 we had 166 players and duties were simplified with the purchase of a club trailer, which contained the club canteen (tent, trestles, gas cooker, pots, kettle) as well as all ground equipment (marking cones, flags, nets). The rostered team would hitch up the trailer from a house in Woy Woy Road before setting up both non-comp. and competition fields at Mt. Penang. These fields were in different areas of the Juvenile Justice Centre so plenty of helpers were needed. The fields had to be fully prepared by the club, which included mowing and marking and installing goal posts.
Fund raising through these first years included Trivia Nights, Monti Carlo and other theme nights, as well as discos for the kids. As there was such a close community feeling, all these functions were well attended and this provide the ever-increasing funds needed to run a successful club. From 1990 with a turnover of less than $9000 the club grew to seeing over $30000 collected and distributed in 1995.
This was also the year we made a move to the newly finished playing fields in Mitchell Drive. There was finally a feeling of independence as we had relied greatly on the administration of Mt Penang, which in the latter years created greater difficulties in the use of their facilities. Over the last two years of using Mt. Penang all players, parents and spectators had to stop at boom gates, which helped to oversee and control movements of people in the increasingly secure centre. Although it was with relief we relocated to new grounds we acknowledge the importance of Mt Penang in the foundation of our club, for without their help and willingness to allow community use of facilities, Kariong Soccer Club would not have commenced. Over the years of senior squads and to the present time we have had players derived from both staff and teenagers from the Juvenile Justice Centre. The first year of using Mitchell Drive fields still saw a lot of organization to set up fields. There were no junior fields at that stage, instead the non-comp teams played across the main field. Marking out and goal posts were erected in the morning and then removed for the competition sides to take to the full size pitch. Players numbered 217 in 17 teams. Our new strip of predominately blue with the historical red and yellow boosted the appearance of Kariong teams and completed the lesser-known facts about Kariong's initial years.
Today we have grown to over 500 players and over 40 teams including women's squads. Many players have experienced the highs and lows of Pluim Park Finals and many more the fun of playing with friends and impressing Mums & Dads with newly learnt skills. We now see our once juniors continuing with their skills in the senior ranks. Kariong is a club that has fulfilled its initial intentions and with continued input from all the selfless volunteers will continue to build on its history for many years to come. We are always looking for not only more volunteers but ideas from the community to help develop Kariong United into the club that’s here for the community.