Established in 1969 and incorporated in 1996, the Queensland Christian Soccer Association (QCSA) is an ecumenical independent body set up to enable those who cannot play on Sundays, to have an alternative to the main stream soccer body who play on Saturdays and Sundays.
Christian soccer does continue to grow. This growth is attributable to the following factors:
- A growing number of parents find the emphasis on no drugs/alcohol practices reassuring.
- The same people feel drawn to the 'fun rather than winning at any cost impulse' which emphasises a play hard, play fair, play clean environment, where winning isn't everything.
- Christian soccer is more economical and less demanding on family budgets. This is especially important in economically disadvantaged areas.
- A growing number of ethnic groups see the Church as their first recognisable point of contact. As a result, more ethnic teams are entering the Association and becoming an important component of its membership.
- QCSA is represented by a growing number of female teams with mixed teams common up to age 14.
- Christian soccer makes room for people with a disability, emphasising values of access and sports personship over those of elitism. In fact, QCSA at one time had a hearing impaired team.
- Christian soccer adopts the philosophy of non-interference in the affairs of its affiliates, providing broad guide lines only as a means of overall direction. This is attractive to many who have suffered under an unsympathetic and inflexible governing body.
- Christian soccer is in fact serving a growing 'niche' market and is deserving opportunity to develop. This is for the simple reason that a stronger Association will make the acceptance of religious and ethnic minorities that much easier in the future.
- Christian soccer is an open movement evidenced by the number of non-church clubs taking part in the activities of the Association and having the same voting rights as all other clubs.
- Christian soccer is not a proselytising body, rather, one that sees the main game as about values built people and not economics.
In 1996/97 the Association commissioned a Strategic Plan to identify its future strategy. This process involved the use of private consultants who visited each club or group of club representatives. In groups of three or four and sometimes individually, the clubs were able to put forward their specific concerns and desired future direction of the Association. Thus a change process was initiated. From this beginning the resulting report presented the management committee with a truly representative assessment of the goals and aspirations of the majority of the members of the Association. The consultants indicated in their final report that "in fact 35 interviews were completed utilizing a questionnaire that respondents filled out. Following this their details were fleshed out in discussion. On completion of the research, date was collated identifying the key factors that emerged as core concerns and interests." These were expressed as statements of purpose:
- Enable people with Sunday family, religious and other commitments to engage in organised sport on other days.
- Allow people to enjoy socialising within a Christian atmosphere.
- Assist participants, players and parents to provide for their children, sporting experiences which will equip them to resist peer group and other negative influences.
- Extend Christian influence through sporting involvement and keep participation within the financial reach of all people.
- Enable sporting participants to achieve their optimum individual performance potential.
- Exert a Christian influence within sport at large.
- Foster the establishment of similar Christian sporting associations throughout the wider community.
- Develop and sustain a responsible, effective and ongoing process for managing the Association and its affairs.
- Achieve and maintain appropriate financial viability.
- Create a permanent headquarters for the Association.
- To foster, develop and encourage a Christian Soccer Competition on days other than Sunday.
- To encourage and develop Christian principles in all aspects of the game and Association.
- To always promote and support good sportsmanship and a sense of friendly competition between all concerned.
- To foster the growth of the Association and the development of its players.
- This Association abides by the laws of the game of soccer as laid down by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
It has been said many times before that, keeping children occupied in wholesome activity keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. Our objective here is to provide a sporting environment that teaches the teamwork necessary to achieve goals in sport and that these skills are also skills for life. The consultants asked this question in their final report:
Does the Queensland Christian Soccer Association exist to witness and play football or does it exist to play football and witness?
If the Queensland Christian Soccer Association exists to witness but plays football badly and unsportingly, then immediately its witness comes into question. If on the other hand it exists to play football and its witness is inconsistent and contradictory to its standard of play then it becomes a contradiction of itself. The balancing of these potentially countervailing forces is essential to the strength of the QCSA.
This factor will always be a cross it must bear. It, of course must try for both, but to do one at the expense of the other or to compromise in both to please everybody, will ultimately be self defeating.
Young people play football for the fun of it. if the football they play is clean and fair and well organized, they will soon see the justice of it. If hooliganism and unnecessary aggression are demonstrated to be less than desirable, they will learn to respect it. The first witness is therefore how the sport is played and administered, if these things are attended to first then the witness of your 'walk' is consistent with your 'talk'.
The impact of any project by the Association has special implications when one considers the composition of the Association membership. In fact the overall percentage of female participation on the QCSA soccer fields has reached 12% of the membership. Higher level competition will undoubtedly enhance their experience of involvement in the competitions organised by the Association. All indications point to further growth of this aspect in the coming years.
As stated earlier, many people come to Australia from a cultural background that places a high priority on their religious beliefs. In addition participation in soccer is a major part of their lives. When they see an opportunity to combine both passions, it provides a comforting link to their cultural past. Such members of the Association can be found in two clubs with El Salvadorian background, El Salvador and Cuscatlan. Abruzzo (Italian), Serbia United (Serbian) and St. George (Greek) are other culturally based clubs. Likewise, improving facilities and making services more accessible to members will in turn raise the level of competition which is a factor in the decision to participate in the activities of the Association.
Of course all the members of the Association, children, parents, coaches, club officials and even the interested onlookers (siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles etc.) will benefit from any project undertaken by the Association. The number of these beneficiaries could conceivably reach about 20,000 per week when all relevant family interests are considered.
It was 1969 when a group of people from different churches & denominations got together to create a Christian sporting organization. It was important that it provided an alternative to playing on Sundays, as well as teaching children worthwhile values. The name decided upon was “Queensland Churches Soccer Football Association BID (Brisbane/Ipswich Division).”
Two reps from each of the original six clubs (Blackstone United Welsh, Bundamba Salvation Army, Nundah Wavell, Salisbury Baptist, Salvation Army & St Pauls) met and elected our very first committee: Eric Jones (Blackstone) was President; Wal Brown (St Pauls) was Secretary; John Gibbs (Nundah), Norm Parker (St Pauls), Norm Rule (Salvation Army) and Merv Zimmerman (Salisbury) completed the officials.
It didn’t take long for growth and before you know it, 40 years later, we have over 40 clubs each year, almost 600 teams and 8,000 players. We still work on those original ideas of an alternative to Sunday football and teaching children worthwhile values.