Adelaide Comets President, Jim Tsouvalas is, Adelaide Comets.
Chances are, you have seen Jim who is affectionately known around the Club as ‘Prez’, in every role.
From helping at a fundraising barbeque, taking 7-a-side registration forms and setting up SA Athletics Stadium for Senior match days to liaising with Council, Jim is a true Comets Club man.
Having been a part of Adelaide Comets since day one, Jim saw a bright future for the Club 23 years ago and isn’t done yet.
We spoke with Jim about the journey from the beginning of the Club, to where he is leading it now in 2017.
Adelaide Comets Formation:
There was a group of players that wanted me to start a Club, they came and saw me and I said OK, if you want me to do that, I am happy to do that.
So, I got together people close to me, there was 7, myself 8, and part of the commitment was that it was going to take a lot of time out of their normal day and life to start this.
They went back to their wives and partners to make sure that they could commit that time, because we had a long term plan to set up a family club, not just a boys club and we also had a 5 year plan to introduce Juniors. Then, in 1994 we formed the first Committee.
We all put $100 together and started the club with $800! We incorporated and registered the name as Adelaide Raiders Soccer Club and that is how we began, with 2 teams in the Amateur League, with roughly 40 players.
In our first year we won the Championship and were promoted to Div 1 Amateur League, which was fantastic, we wanted to make a statement and we did.
In 2001 we introduced Juniors which was massive. I remember going and seeing our first Juniors game at NAB which is now Eastern United and seeing the little kids in Comets jumpers and that was the biggest thrill for me, to see those kids run out, it was pretty emotional. So that was huge for us.
Winning 3 championships in a row in the Amateur League was a stepping stone for us to say to ourselves that we need to play at a higher level and that is when that all began.
Securing SA Athletics Stadium as our main pitch once we were included to the Football Federation SA competition in 2006 was another milestone.
Getting promoted in our second year in the State League to get in to the Premier League back then and then I think it was after 3 or 4 years, getting promoted in to the Super League was another massive moment for the Club as well, under Barney Smith.
Bringing in Women’s football is another one. Nick Panagaris said to me, Jim we should start a women’s competition and although we did have a social team it sort of fell apart after a while and in hindsight we probably started it wrong, we probably should have started juniors first. I did say to Nick, who was the Women’s Coordinator at the time, once you start this, you are going to create a monster and it has happened. Starting off with 3 teams and now having I believe 130 girls participating is massive, absolutely that is another milestone for the club.
The ‘Adelaide Comets’ Name:
We wanted to have the name Adelaide Raiders but once we were a part of the Federation we were forced to change it as there already was a team called Raiders, so it was basically put out there to the Committee and our Members to come up with a name.
Adelaide Comets won it – I didn’t vote for it – I had another one, I think it was Titans or something like that, which is now a new club, but Adelaide Comets got the majority of votes so that is how it began in 2001!
Goal – Adelaide’s Biggest Club:
We have got to have targets in life don’t we, so in our mission statement in 1994 it actually does say that we want to play at the highest level possible in the state.
That has always driven us, it is recognition, it is hard work and we are very keen to win a championship in the top flight.
2017, a Championship Year?
I hope so, it is always difficult to say. This year from what I have seen, everyone has improved, all the clubs are really impressive with all of their recruitments and the level of players is improving each year. This is largely due to the Federation introducing coaching courses and the accreditation side of things that we have to follow, so coaches are becoming more knowledgeable.
Academies that are introduced with in the Clubs, like our Schools of Excellence, these are all things that benefit the kids that we never had before and that side of it is growing and the level is improving.
It is going to be a tight competition but I hope we do win it. It will be a big party if we do, that’s for sure!
I believe we have got the best location in the city where we are at Ellis Park, that is the heartbeat of the club, where our Juniors, Seniors and Women all participate, but we don’t have proper facilities for it and them.
We have been trying for the last 3 years to get new Club rooms and a sporting complex approved through Council, it is a process that is time consuming and frustrating to say the least.
On Thursday the 16th of February, there was an APLA meeting, the Adelaide Park Lands Authority group, and our proposal was put there for discussion and it is good news, positive news.. the Parklands Authority group only advise and their advice was that we can have the same footprint which is roughly which is about 490 square metres, but we can go up.
We would have a double story building which is huge, we would have double the space of what we currently have with new facilities.
That is the advice of APLA, now we have to go to Council for a council meeting on March the 28th.
We have done a lot of lobbying with Councillors as well, so we are quietly confident that we have met their requirements of not encroaching on to Parklands so it will hopefully be a positive outcome with the Councillors and we can then go in to development stage, which is fantastic news for the club!
We are also close to SA Athletics Stadium which is our Senior teams home ground and so we are very close to each other and I think its a really good fit .
It will be a building which will accommodate our kid’s kids and their kids future with in the Club.
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