The Waimakariri United Football Club was formed in December 2008 following an agreement to merge between the Rangiora Football Club, Kaiapoi Town Association Football Club, and North Canterbury United. The merger came after 6 years of successful football development under the United franchise brand, and a desire to extend this development.
Waimakariri United has been built on the foundations of two successful and passionate clubs in their own right, Rangiora Football Club, and Kaiapoi Town Association Football Club.
Football made its first appearance in Rangiora at the annual New Years Day sports in 1864. During the remainder of that decade, and into the early 1870's, soccer grew as a casual social pastime fuelled by increasing immigration from England.
While soccer has been played, on and off, in Kaiapoi for over 100 years, historical records from the early years are patchy.It is believed that in 1925 a Kaiapoi team, consisting mainly of Mill workers, had some success winning the "B" Championship.Their home ground was at the Kaiapoi Domain opposite the Woollen Mills. The Second World War brought an end to soccer in the District until the end of 1973.
The first Rangiora Soccer Club was formed on 7th April 1875. The first arranged game was to be played against the Christchurch Football Club on 10th June 1876, however confusion reigned as the Christchurch team arrived intent on playing rugby! A mixture of rugby and soccer was played as a compromise and thereafter the new club played rugby.
Soccer continued to be played casually over subsequent years. In May 1913, as a part of a sports day organised in Rangiora for teams to play against the crew of the cruiser HMS New Zealand, the navy beat a Rangiora team 3-1.
In March 1965, the Rangiora Association Football Club was officially formed after playing a year of friendlies in 1964. The founding members were Mr Alan Fraser OBE (awarded for his services to Soccer Administration), Mr and Mrs Barry Jones, Mr Les Farr (inaugural Club Patron) and Mr Jock and Mrs Helen Carr. Jock was the club's first President. With four teams (Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, and Seniors) the Rangiora AFC shared a home at the Rangiora Recreation Fround with the cycling, gun, and later cricket clubs. As the soccer club grew the junior teams ventured to other grounds such as Dudley Park and Ashgrove Park and the need for a dedicated home ground became increasingly pressing.
A chance conversation in the Woodend pub between Robin Taylor, who had played for Christchurch United in the National League, and Ray Kettley resulted in further conversations with the then Councillor, and future Mayor of Kaiapoi, Hec McAllister about forming a soccer club in Kaiapoi.
McAllister called a meeting of interested people at the Kaiapoi Council Chambers in early 1974. The Chambers were full, some of the attendees included: Hec McAllister (Chair), Murray Ruddenklau, Robin Taylor, Ray Kettley, Bill Pyner, Willie Rodgers, John Skelton, Wayne Melrose, Peter Balkenende, Henk Hendiks and Ray McMillan - this list is not complete.At the meeting it was decided to form a soccer club, initially catering for junior players.They would establish a committee, and approach local schools to set up soccer pitches.They elected Cyril Sweeney as the club's first President. It should be noted that Cyril was not at the meeting, however he took on the role with great vigour.Cyril had retired from the workforce. He had a long association with soccer. He was a life member of Shamrock (now Avon United) Soccer Club. He was also an international referee and had refereed an international soccer match in 1947 between New Zealand and South Africa at Lancaster Park.
Some of the initial committee members along with Sweeney were, Lynn van Orsouw (secretary/treasurer), Ray Kettley (club captain), Derek Thomson, Joop van Orsouw, Roly Creamer, Kevin Jackson, Mrs Kennet, Ray McMillan, Robin Taylor, John Skelton, and Happy Melrose.There may have been others.
Early meetings were held in the Old Courthouse (now the museum), later the meetings shifted to the back bar at The Pier Hotel (which was sadly demolished in early 2002.)A sign-on and practice day was held at Kaiapoi High School and 55 players turned up.The decision was made to enter five junior teams into the Canterbury Junior Football Association competitions. The five teams were 9th Grade coached by Cyril Sweeney, 10th grade coached by Ray Kettley, 11th grade coached by John Skelton, 12th grade coached by Kevin Jackson, and 14th grade coached by Ray MacMillan.A home ground was established at Kaiapoi North School for the 9th and 10th grades and at the KaiapoiHigh for the 11th, 12th and 14th grades.The teams had their first outing in a pre-season tournament at Nomads United. The only result available was a creditable 0-0 draw by the 14th grade team. The teams were all raring to go, however heavy rain on the first competition day caused the first week’s games to be postponed. A trophy was donated by the Van Orsouw family, and known as the Isles Trophy. Mr Isles had played for New Zealand in past years. The trophy was to be presented to the player of the year of the club’s most senior team. In 1974 it was the 14th grade and the trophy went to Murray Hopewell.The following season (1975) saw an increase in the number of junior teams and the formation of a senior team. The first senior coach was building inspector Jim Steel, and the manager was mill worker Ken Hawkins. The seniors competed in Canterbury Football Association (CFA) Division 3.The home field was at Pines Beach. The top goal scorer that season was Geoff Hart with 29 - which is still a club record.In 1977 Ray Kettley became the clubs second president and Cyril Sweeney became the first life member. This season also saw the formation of Kaiapoi's first women's team.
In Rangiora, Maria Andrews Park was a parcel of land that had been donated to the local council by Samuel Andrews of Exeter, Devon, to be named after his wife, Maria, and used as a park. However the land was very wet and was frequently flooded, and it remained unused until 1942, when it was declared a lawn cemetery by Order of Council. In 1976, tireless voluntary work helped drain that riverbed wasteland and transform it into the playing fields we have today, as originally intended by Samuel Andrews. The club then moved to those grounds and, in 1993 following years of fundraising activities, the club purchased a large recreation room from the Balmoral State Forest headquarters and relocated it onto Maria Andrews Park. During 2005 the clubrooms have undergone a major refurbishment programme with a new shop, toilets and changing rooms. Names that are worthy of a mention for their inspired contribution and development of the club as a whole include Alan Fraser, Thelma Hawkins, Bruce and Leila Reeves, and John Breitmeyer.
As the Kaiapoi Football club grew in numbers the need for a permanent home also became more and more critical. By 1980 the club had 27 teams competing in men's, women's and junior competitions. The council finally provided some land at Sidey Quay.The area was renamed after councilor Dick Wylie to WyliePark.Clubrooms were erected in time for the 1981 season. The first game played at WyliePark was a Chatham Cup match against Southern League Champions Nomads United. Nomads, undefeated for 18 months and boasting many ex-National League players, progressed to the next round with a 2 - 1 victory.In 1984 the club acquired the use of current home ground, Kendall Park. This block of land was left to the Eyre County Council,together with a sum of money, by Miss Kendall.A condition was that the ground and money was to be used for a sports reserve. Kaiapoi Soccer Club and Clarkville Cricket Club became joint users.Since 1984 the club has continued to grow and has had to use several parks around Kaiapoi including WyliePark, the Kaiapoi Borough School, and Baker Park.Recently the council has begun work on a redevelopment plan for Kendall Park that has included a new carpark, and extension
of the park allowing for new fields.
In 2009 the Waimakariri United Football Club will field over 100 teams from Junior All Whites (Under 6's), junior and youth teams in both mixed and girls grades, to Senior Men and Women (including Masters). With a club membership of over 1200 players, Waimakariri United Football Club is the biggest sporting club in North Canterbury.
As part of the merger a new strategic plan and Board structure was implemented. A key focus for the Board has been player development. Since the merger the club has employed a Football Development Officer, and now runs holiday programs, after school development programs, and 7th - 9th grade academies.
In 2011 we have seen some of the results from these programs with many of our competition grade teams finishing in the top 3, and winning several leagues. This has carried through to our representative program where our North Canterbury teams have punched well above their weight in several grades, and our development teams have performed far above expectations. Unfortunately we still struggle to get recognition at the next level, however the club is endeavouring to find various partners to open up opportunities for our best players.
In 2012 Waimak United began a partnership with the Burnley Football Club Academy Australasia to provide private football tuition and aid the development of both coaches and players. In 2013 this academy was changed to the International Football Academy of NZ and continues to assist with player development.
In 2014, the management of North Canterbury rep football was handed over to the newly formed North Canterbury Football Association. Waimak United continues to grow and has regularly been competing in North Island Tournaments. This year was the first year older teams were sent north to the Taupo McCartney Invitational tournament. Both the 13th grade girls and the 17th grade boys came home champions with the 15th grade girls finishing a creditable 4th.
In 2015, our major milestone has been achieving entry into the 2016 Women's Premier League by proving we have a strong pathway and good development programs for junior girls. Our PDL girls had a successful season finishing 2nd in the league, and winning the knockout. We continue to work on our boys development and retention of players is an important step towards a complete male pathway. This year we again had success in Taupo with the 13th and 15th grade girls winning their tournaments, and the 11th grade girls and 17th grade boys finishing 3rd. Our U19 girls (a very young side) finished a creditable 4th at the Lotto tournament. With this continued success in girls tournaments we now aim to gain entry into the National U17 ACFC tournament in early 2016.