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One of the proudest moments in our club’s history, Queanbeyan City FC State League U19s lifting the trophy after defeating rivals Canberra Olympic 3-2 in the grand final to take out the competition.

But there is more to this tale and perhaps you don’t know the full story...or are too young to remember...but there is a reason why this achievement was so important.

This was a classic underdog story about a group of boys, mostly 15-16 years of age, who came together, took on the league, overcame adversity to become champions and in the process helped rebuild a dying football club. This was the QCFC Redeem Team.

After a disappointing 1999 season in the ACT Premier League, plagued with poor results and mismanagement, the unthinkable happened. For the first time in living memory, QCFC failed to field a team in any competition. That’s right, the club was non-existent in the year 2000. This was probably the darkest period in the club’s history and it was not going to be acceptable. 

After a big effort to revive the club, QCFC made its comeback in 2001 with a competitive first grade team, and a very exciting U19s side. This U19s side was made up of players who had played at various junior clubs (some hadn’t played in years), but they were community locals who came together for a bigger purpose. 

They played with such passion and were dominating the competition...until...in a shocking twist, midway through the season the team was heavily fined and lost competition points due to an issue regarding player registrations. The team was not permitted to play again until the fine was paid. Very unfortunate for a club rebuilding and with no financial capacity at the time. An emergency ‘telethon’ fundraiser was set up through the local Macedonian Community Radio. Some of the first grade players even went on the air live to seek donations. In an amazing show of support, it was the community that dug deep and helped to pull the team out of the mud.

With the controversy behind them, they charged towards the finals and finished within 1 point of the minor premiers Canberra Olympic.

The two teams would eventually battle it out in a tense grand final, but nothing was ever going to stop this determined Queanbeyan City side in claiming the title and putting the club back on the map. What a moment.

As the current squad is preparing for the all-important 2020 season, we can always learn something from our past. And these U19s showed anything is possible when you play with passion and when you play for each other.

From Aleks Celeski