History


History

Season 2007 marked the 80th year of the Maccabi-Hakoah Soccer Clubs existence and the 30th season of North Caulfield Maccabi's existence.
The club was created in 1977 by a small group of players with a passion for the game and flourished to become a club which is currently competing and progressing through the Provisional League in Victoria to State League Division Two - its highest league ever.

In the latter part of 1976, a group of young Jewish soccer players decided to form a Jewish soccer team. The decision to form a team was inspired by a number of ex-Mount Scopus College boys who had completed their High School education in 1975 and were determined to try and keep their team together after two successful years of inter-school competition at Mount Scopus.

Amongst these players were such names as David Efron, Michael "Dixie" Diamond, Morrie Kalkopf and Alex Zwier. They later recruited players from Yeshivah College which included David "Boobie" Kraus, Dov Paneth and Harry Greenberg amongst others. The formation of the two school sides then went on to become the nucleus of Hakoah-Ajax Thirds which then soon after became Maccabi-Hakoah in 1978.

In the formation of Maccabi-Hakoah, two people were most instrumental in forming the team. Henry Zelman, who was a dedicated soccer player all his life, brought down Danny Fridman from the State League and with the talent and enthusiasm of these ex-collegians, they formed a strong club with its own strong Jewish identity, which was a success from the start.

Larry Goldman joined the club as the first club President and the club was on its way. Amongst the early legendary players were names like David "Boobie" Kraus, Michael "Dixie" Diamond, Robbie Roth, Morrie Kalkopf, David Efron, Bradley Wein, Alex Zwier, Stephen Bloch, Jonathan Munz, Max Lichtenbaum and Philip Serry.

The club thrived on a camaraderie and spirit, which flowed throughout the complete squad. There were no major sponsors or huge budgets like today. The club was built on the back of players who really had a passion for the game and were all willing to do whatever was necessary for the club whether it was medial tasks like washing shirts or line-marking grounds, there was never any shortage of participants willing to help out for the good of the club.

Maccabi-Hakoah commenced its playing life in the Industrial League before becoming a foundation member of the Amateur League in 1979. In 1980, the club dominated the competition, often recording double figure scores against its opponents. The club finished runners-up in the league in 1980, missing out only on goal difference but they won the Amateur League Cup defeating Meadow Park in front of a bumper crowd at Olympic Park.

One of the most amusing moments in the clubs history was when the club won the Amateur Cup in 1980. This game was a curtain raiser game to the Dockerty Cup final at Olympic Park. After winning the game, the trophy presentation awarded to Danny Fridman, as club captain. After Danny received the trophy, his first reaction was to hold the trophy aloft and as he did this he was greeted by an almighty cheer from the 20,000 crowd, who were simultaneously cheering Melbourne Croatia onto the ground for the start of the main game, being the 1980 Docherty Cup Final. What was amusing was that Danny didn't realise what the crowd was cheering for as he thought that Maccabi had won the crowd over with their greatest ever display and this great moment of glory for the club.

After the excellence of 1980, Maccabi-Hakoah excelled itself in 1981 winning no fewer than three major trophies in the one season. The club was boosted in 1981 with the arrival of Clive Barrett who was probably the best ever player the club has seen as well as being the clubs first South African born player. His inclusion to an already powerful line-up saw the club win the Championship in Amateur League Division One with 40 out of a possible 42 points, the Victorian Amateur Club Championship defeating Bendigo College 2-0 and Amateur Club Cup defeating Kooyong Rangers 3-1.

In 1984, the strength of Jewish Soccer was so strong that with the vision and influence of Henry Fromer, it was decided to split the Maccabi-Hakoah club into Maccabi and Hakoah. This brought about the establishment of a Hakoah team with great ambition to push the club into the higher leagues and revive the glory years of the former Hakoah. At its peak, the Hakoah and Maccabi teams would have had about 80-90 registered Jewish soccer players between them. In 1986, the Hakoah team won the championship of Provisional League Division Two. In the same year, Steven Freund won Amateur League Player of the Year with Maccabi.

The Maccabi club went through a difficult time as well, after this peak, when in the late 1980's a shortage of players almost saw the club go under. During this period it was the incredible hard work of captain coach Stephen Pugh that kept the club alive when player numbers were in sharp decline.

The club survived however and went on to greater glories including a sensational first time ever win over NSW Maccabi in carnival competition on the Gold Coast in 1990/91. This was a time when nothing was left to chance in the clubs total commitment to win a carnival gold medal. A win against Sydney had continually eluded the club for its whole history. No expense was spared including the flying in and out of Stephen Bloch for two games from Melbourne-Gold Coast, during the carnival because Stephen Bloch was unable to stay with the team for the complete carnival due to work commitments.

This carnival victory along with another back to back victory with a come from behind equalising goal against NSW, in Melbourne, in 1991/2 were among the finest moments the club ever experienced.

In recent years, the club has been going through an extensive re-building phase. As many players from Israel, Russia and South Africa have come into the team and many of the older players have been forced to retire, the club culture and playing style has changed.

As the club now competes with the bigger clubs of Victorian football, it is an ideal time to reflect on the best team of the past, which includes many current players.

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