Avondale FC is one of eight foundation clubs for the NST competition (Photo: Poletti / The Inner Sanctum)

Of the eight successful foundation clubs for the National Second Tier (NST) competition beginning in 2025, Avondale FC has the biggest rags to riches story. 

The only team of the chosen few not to have previously been a National Soccer League (NSL) club, the Avengers pride themselves on their infancy. Formed in 1984, Avondale FC began in division three of the Victorian Amateur League. 

However, a surge in the early 2010s saw the club achieve promotion five times in six seasons – the only club in Victorian football to ever do so. Competing in NPL Victoria since 2014, Avondale FC achieved ultimate success in September when they defeated South Melbourne FC 4-0 to win their maiden NPL title. 

Today, Avondale FC were announced as one of the foundation clubs for the inaugural NST competition, a feat board member Marino Mustica says they will take with two hands.  

“Being such a small club when we started out to what we’ve achieved, I think that has served us well and I think moving forward, nothing will change,” he told The Inner Sanctum.

“We’re not going to waiver from or back down from any challenge.” 

“We’re going to grasp that opportunity and go for it.” 

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Avondale FC join the Wollongong Wolves as the only teams selected for the NST competition to have been founded after 1960, with the other six teams founded between in the forties and fifties. It’s a contrast Mustica says the club will take as a badge of honour.

“It’s a bit surreal being here today with clubs that were established in the fifties and sixties and have a very proud tradition in the football world,” he says.

“So, it’s quite a leg up for the club today.”

As for the competition itself, Mustica believes the club can bring a different brand of football. 

“We want to be competitive, but we also want to bring a different dynamic,” he says.

“In the NPL we’re probably known as the most exciting team, and we hope to further that on the national stage.” 

The National Second Tier competition is set to begin in March/April 2025. 

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