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 to 2002, POSSC has grown rapidly in recent years and now has 5 teams, with in excess of 80 registered players.
The club was founded by Dave Barrett 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 3rd place. 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.
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 between 2004 to 2008, Michael Case, has won the award for the best & fairest player in the CSL A1 division on three occasions. For full details of individual honours won by POSSC players, please refer to the honour board.