Who We Are
Over thirty years the club has grown through the grit and heart of a select few people. The club has an excellent reputation in the area (eg. Darebin club of the year 2017) and grown fast over the last five years to now have over 250 juniors girls and boys as well as two senior teams, an AAA team and for the first time in 2021 a Masters team.
The last year or two of growth, however, has illustrated some quality-control issues. We have not been able to be as close to our community (and visa-versa) as we would like and our senior men’s team is not in a high-enough league. We need to make strategic decisions about where to go next, and to do it in a controlled fashion. We are also focusing heavily on female participation not just at playing level but in all aspects of the club.
We are not wealthy, but there is some money in the bank that has been saved up over the years. We can now invest some of that money back into the club’s sustained growth.
We want to be able to offer as many player pathways as possible, whether that is a developing junior moving to a more advanced level then through to becoming a competitive senior player at the Falcons.
We are the benchmark all inclusive community club in the Northern Suburbs. We have been recognised by State Government, Local Council and Football Victoria for our community involvement. In 2021 we will have been in existence for 35 years.
We are an ambitious, competitive community club.
The Northern Falcons Soccer Club was formed in October of 1986 as the sporting arm of the Floridia Social Club. Originally known as the Flemington Floridia Soccer Club, the club made it’s first home at the foot of the Commission houses on Flemington Road in Flemington. These were humble beginnings as players trained under the security lights attached the buildings surrounding the ground. There were no showers or change rooms on training nights and players were forced to change in their cars but this did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the people who were entrusted with running the club. The most important of these was Joe Valentino. It was Joe Valentino, who as a member of the Floridia Social Club, decided the club needed an injection of new young faces or risk dying a slow death. And what better way to do this than through sport. So in late 1986, with this in mind, he set about starting a soccer team to attract the males and a netball for the females.
The Falcons first training session attracted 3 players. Within three weeks, Joe Valentino had gathered together fifteen players, the vast majority whose parents were Floridian. He had achieved his first goal.So with the financial and emotional backing of the Floridia Social Club, their first season would be in 1987 as part of the Victorian Amateur Soccer Federation (VASF) Div.2 (morning) League. With Joe Valentino taking on the coaching role as well as the presidency, the team excelled, winning the Championship and League Cup in its maiden year.In 1988, promotion to Div.1 followed and they again won the League and Cup double. Some fantastic results in the Coppa Italia during these early years were also great highlights for the fledgling club. Some leaner years followed between 1989 and 1992, as the social club went through its own upheaval affecting the financial support it had provided to the soccer club thus far. Due to health reason, Joe Valentino was forced to give up his involvement with the club and with the girls sporting group having already disbanded, things started to look bleak. As a consequence of this, in 1992 a group of the ‘older’ players decided to save the club and so put up their hands up to run it. In 1993 the club received the opportunity that would help make it what it has become today. With the collapse of Batman Lazio, Flemington Floridia was asked if it wanted to join the VSF in Provisional 3. Without hesitation, the club took the opportunity and the rest is history.
The club changed its name to the Flemington Falcons dropping ‘Floridia’ as the social club had decided a couple of years earlier to distance it from the soccer club. In its first year in Prov.3 the club finished mid table as it established itself amongst better quality opposition than in Amateur League. In 1994 and 1995 the club continued to improve and finished fourth in both these years. However, with an ageing playing list, its results began to suffer and they experienced some lower ladder finishes between 1996 and 1999. In 2000, with an influx of ex-North Reservoir players, the majority who are still at the club today, the Falcons climbed again and finished fourth only a couple of games from the top. The next 2 years saw the club again facing problems off the ground as it struggled to get enough people involved on the committee. Because of this the Falcons were only able to ‘tread’ water and finished mid-table. In 2003, the club decided to appoint a young coach from outside. It interviewed several people and decided that Michael Loche, who had coached Epping reserves, would be given an opportunity. With several Epping players following Michael to the club, the Falcons made an instant impact on the competition finishing third only 3 points from promotion and compounded by some controversial and baffling decisions by the VSF Tribunal. The club struggled to get over the disappointment of missing promotion and the following year slid away to once again finish mid table. But it was at the beginning of 2004 when the club direction was changed. With the introduction of several measures including a player’s code of conduct, innovative fund raising ideas and a greater involvement of families in the club, the whole mood at the club changed. The biggest change was the name of the club. No longer were they the Flemington Falcons but they became what they are known as today…the NORTHERN FALCONS.
The name change made the club more synonymous with the area where they played and so made it a little easier to attract sponsorship dollars. Financially, the club was stabilised and this is a rarity at this level. The work done in 2004 was the catalyst for what would happen in 2005 and beyond. A ground change also followed for season 2005. The club which had played its last 3 seasons out of Oulton Reserve took up residence at Hayes Park, a move which would turn out to be a god send for the club. The Falcons were in the top two for the majority of season 2005 and it came down to the last game of the season versus top of the table Melbourne Tornado at Knights Stadium. A draw would give the Falcons promotion but a win would secure the title. In a pulsating encounter the second placed Falcons could not break down Tornado despite hitting the post in the final minutes. They had to settle for second but finally after several years of hard, unrewarding work and our share of bad luck….PROMOTION!!!!! Year 2005 also saw the striking of the Pizzo-Valentino Medal to honour the Club Champion. This medal was struck in honour of the two men who are largely responsible for our club existing today. Joe Valentino who founded the club and Carmelo Pizzo who passed away in 2004 but had worked tirelessly for many years to raise thousands of dollars to keep the club afloat after the Floridia Social Club withdrew it’s financial support.
The club has endured a few setbacks in the last 3 years. Remaining founder Joe Valentino passed away and the senior team has endured some hardship since the two promotions. However, this has been tempered by the introduction of a junior setup in 2009 which started with 11 kids and has now grown to in excess of 100. The club also introduced a Special Needs team in 2009, the first of it's kind in Australia for which the club received a State Government Sports Award. The Darebin council also saw fit to reward the club for it's great work in the community by approving a pavilion redevelopment at Hayes Park as well as six new light towers to make it a fantastic complex and the envy of every other Northern suburbs club. On top of this our President Frank Pizzo was named the 2013 FFV Volunteer of the Year which is testament to his hard work but also the fantastic work this club does for the community.
In 2015 – the club's 30th anniversary – the club was in great shape. A new coaching panel with senior coach Peter Natsis embarked on a gruelling but well attended pre-season. Over the next three seasons, promotion was narrowly missed. However, in 2019 a new coaching panel led by Kaan Kalayci was appointed. It was an outstanding season with only two losses as the club went into the final round of the season two points clear on top. Unfortunately, we lost the final game and missed the title and promotion by one point. In the same year, close to 220 juniors and 20 AAA players registered to represent the club.
Also in 2019, the strategic plan – Project '22 – was developed to help the club continue to grow in a sustained fashion through to 2022 and beyond. This plan was introduced to ensure the continued sustainability of the club as an all inclusive champion and with four all girls teams, a Girls MiniRoos Kick Off program, GoMums Soccer program and a Mens Masters team kicking off in 2021, we continue to excel in that area.
The dreaded COVID-19 stopped all community sport in 2020 and half of 2021 as we struggled without the game we love. The seniors were primed for redemption and our juniors reached nearly 260. Finally however, we are into 2022 and ready to have another crack at this wonderful game with this wonderful club. With marked increases in female participation across coaching, playing and administration, we are now truly seeing the fruits of the work done in the past few years
Thanks to our rich history, we are now ready for an even brighter future!