1975 & 1976 – “The Beginning”
The Meadow Park Soccer Club commenced its existence in 1975 when a group of local residents, including Roy Carroll, Ed & Moira Mc Donald, Ian Campbell & John Mc Bride, whose children, amongst others in the area, wanted to play Soccer, this group got together and decided to start a club in the Gladstone Park area. At that time, quite a few of the local children were already playing for other Junior clubs outside the local area. It seemed a sensible idea to have a club in the immediate area to avoid all the travelling backwards and forwards to evening training sessions and to match days. At the first meeting of the fledgeling committee, and after much discussion the new club’s name, Meadow Park Junior Soccer Club was decided upon and brown and gold were selected as the new club’s colours. It was decided that the first team to be entered as Meadow Park Juniors would be an Under 10 Boys side.
The parents of several local U-10 boys had already been approached and had agreed to join the new club if it ever got started, so U-10 seemed a good starting point. Advertisements were placed in the local papers and local schools were approached to try and get the extra boys required to fill the team. The first training night held at the Gladstone Park Reserve saw the new U-10 coaches swamped with over 40 excited children all wanting to be part of the new team. A lot of the children wishing to play were young enough to play in an U-9 team and one of the younger parents volunteered to manage an U-9 side if we could find the necessary coach. Hence the new club doubled its size before it even got started! The Club having no funds at all, approached the local Gladstone Park Lions Club and they agreed to sponsor the playing strips for the new teams, and so, with 2 teams and new strips, we were off and running.
Although, for the first 2 seasons, there were no changing rooms (a tin shed provided by the Council served as a changing room) nor any toilet facilities at the ground, the club continued to prosper and expand, adding 1 or 2 new age-groups each year.
1977 – 1982
In 1977, the Hume Council built the Gladstone Park Community Centre giving the club real changing rooms, toilets and kitchen facilities from which food and drinks could be sold. In 1981, the club had just sacked the then Junior Coach, with Tomassi and Terbos managing the team, where it saw Keith Upward introduction to the club, assisting in coaching until the season’s end. In 1982, the Junior team was headed for relegation from the 1st Division, and with 6 games to go, the then coach resigned and Keith Upward took over until the end of the season. We won most of the remaining games but could not avoid the drop into the 2nd Division.
1983 – 1988
The Junior club continued to expand and in 1983 the club decided that the time had come to field an adult side in the Victorian Amateur League. After 2 years in the Amateur League, the Senior side gained promotion to the Provisional League 3, fielding both a Senior and a Reserve side. The club continued to expand and prosper, then in 1988, the local Council was persuaded to build our own clubrooms at Gladstone Park Reserve.
Keith Upward was appointed Senior Coach for the 1983 season, where five U/16’s stepped up to play Seniors, amongst which were Robert & Joe Carroll, Steve Farquharson, Eralp Kubilay & Peter Hughes – ALL midfielders.
In 1984, saw Trevor Watkins take over as 1st team coach and Keith Upward played and coached in the reserves until 1986, when he moved up to Queensland, returning back to the club in 1988.
1989 – 1994
The clubrooms were opened in 1989 with great facilities but without changing rooms which would come at a later date. The following year the Senior side won promotion to the Provisional League 2. In 1992 Alan Wilmot was 1st team coach, he then asked Keith Upward to form a 3rds team which he did using the old reserves team and his 2 oldest boys, Rob & Andy Upward. The Thirds Team had a really good year in 1992, in which it was the last time that Keith Upward coached or played at Meadow Park, except for a reunion match between Trevor Watkins 1993 side and the 1983 side, where the 1983 side won 2 – 0.
In the coming years, the Juniors continued to expand becoming the largest Junior Club in the area and the second-largest in Victoria and in 1994 a Ladies team was formed with some considerable success and the following year a Masters Team (over 35 yrs) was introduced. Sometime later the Council agreed to double the size of the clubrooms with a new kitchen facility and excellent changing facilities for both teams and referees thus allowing the club to progress in the coming years.
1995 – PRESENT
The Junior club has had some tremendous success, throughout this period in fielding a number of Super League teams & had players go onto to bigger & successful careers in Soccer, within State, Premier & National league over the many years of its existence. The Senior Club, although still competing within the Provisional Leagues throughout the 90s & now the State 5 West League in the 2010s, has some fantastic potential & aspirations of one day competing within the elite leagues.
Meadow Park “EAGLES” continues to serve the local community today, with its voluntary commitment to provide a safe, enjoyable & healthy environment for the local children & adults within the area.