Karen Roche, one of Bonnie Pidd’s first players, met Klara Szabo at school (1979) and brought her to Musgrave Hill Soccer Club. By their late teens, the two women, along with Therese Hensby (nee Messer), had formed the women’s committee and began to take on responsibility for women’s football beyond their individual clubs. Therese Hensby (nee Messer) was also instrumental in the development of the women’s teams at Southport Soccer Club.
During the 1980s one of the biggest events for women’s soccer in the Gold Coast region was Women’s Soccer Gold Coast Carnival held at Hunt Park (Musgrave Hill). Women’s Soccer QLD reported that it was a relaxed event which attracted as many as 32 teams including teams hailing from Sydney, Newcastle, Bundaberg and Pt. Curtis. Pictured on the right is a pennant from the 1984 carnival.
In 1985, Klara Szabo and Karen Roche ignited interest in the sport by doing a door to door flyer drop. Within 12 months, the sport grew exponentially. Five teams turned into two divisions. The burgeoning popularity coincided with the arrival of, what must surely have been one of football’s early power couples, the Selby’s. Connie Selby had represented New South Wales and captained the Matildas. Her partner Jim Selby had coached the national side.
The newspaper reports (pictured below) and the letter drop were instrumental in building momentum in the game in the 1980s, providing the foundation for some of today’s Matildas, including Tameka Yallop (nee Meeks) and Elise Kellond-Knight.
In 1989, Kerrie Rowe was selected to play for Australia at the Oceania international tournament held in Brisbane (pictured on the right is Kerry in 1989). Kerrie played for Nerang her entire career. She is credited with 528 matches for the club.
In the same year Kerrie played for Australia, the Gold Coast team won the Junior State Championship. Gold Coast participated in the State Titles throughout the 1980s. Below are some images of their State Championship teams during this period.