Rockdale City Suns

The Rockdale Ilinden Soccer Club was formed in 1969 by a group of Macedonian Australians who gave the team the name “Illinden” which has special meaning for all Macedonians throughout history. The club’s first President Simon Zipevski laid the foundations as did the late Vlade Temelkovski who was President in 1978.

On the field, the highlights would have to be the grand final wins (of different leagues) in 1984, 2002 and 2006. The 1984 NSW First Division Grand Final team was coached by Ilija Takac, winning 3–2 over Inter Monaro at Marconi Stadium and is firmly entrenched in the memories of the Rockdale Ilinden supporters.

It took 18 years for Rockdale Ilinden to rejoice another First Grade Grand Final victory. In 2002 the coaching team of Mile Todoroski and Bill Pilovski led the team to an amazing Premiership/Championship double with only 1 loss in 24 games. In the grand final, they would meet the Hajduk Wanderers (who Rockdale defeated 5 goals to 3 just two weeks earlier in the semi final) in very rainy and windy conditions at the Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre. The team was captained by Spase Najdoski who scored the only goal in the game.

Four years later in 2006, Rockdale Ilinden would claim another grand final victory this time over Penrith Nepean United. Rockdale won 1–0 in front of a crowd of 2000 at Melita Stadium. Penrith Nepean United would gain promotion to the New South Wales Premier League as Rockdale’s application would be denied by Football NSW due to the Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre not meeting specific stadium criteria for the Premier League.

The Rockdale Ilinden Soccer Club has been led by a wide array of coaching identities over their history. Some of these coaches were great players in their playing days. Kaz Kulak, Archie Blue, Ilija Takac, Ati Abonyi, Ljubo Gojkovic, Geoff Hoggart, John Fleming (1980s), Ljubo Jancev, Bill Pilovski, Manfred Schaefer, Risto Gojkovski, Rale Rasic, Doug Utjesenovic, Bill Temelkovski, Bill Boskovski, Gerry Gomez (1990s), Mile Todoroski, Ivan Petkovic, Zlatko Nastevski and current coach Mike Grbevski.

Mile Todorovski, the 2008 Super League Coach of the Year was announced as the new coach for the 2009 season with all members/guests and players welcoming the announcement. Lee Sterrey, formerly the coach of Marconi Stallions, replaced him for the 2011 Premier League season. Hugo Sanchez was also named as the new Youth League Head Coach. The Club Committee also announced STOBI Int. as the new supplier of the playing strip and accessories for the 2009 season and beyond.

The 2009 Super League season officially began on 15 March 2009 with Rockdale Ilinden drawing 1–1 with the Northern Tigers at the Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre. The club finished the season in first place on the ladder, claiming the Premiership and advancing to the finals. They were, however, eliminated during the preliminary final by the eventual champions Spirit FC 2 goals to nil.

On 12 October 2009, Football NSW announced that the Rockdale City Suns would be promoted to the Premier League competition for the 2010 season.

The 2013 season saw the appointment of Branko Culina as Head coach, along with Ivan Petkovic as his assistant. The 2013 season has been the most successful season since promotion into the NSW Premier League with the Rockdale City Suns finishing 4th in the regular season, beating Marconi Stallions, Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United on the road to the Grand Final, before going down to eventual winner, Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1–0 in front of nearly 6,000 people at Penrith (Centrebet) Stadium.

The 2014 season saw the Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre hosted the inaugural launch of the Westfield FFA Cup on 24 February. On the field, the Suns finished in 5th place, bowing out to Sydney Olympic 2–1 in the first week of the finals.

In 2015, Rockdale parted ways with Branko Culina after an indifferent start to the NPL NSW season, appointing the experienced player Paul Reid as Player/Coach. The side finished in 6th place, narrowly missing out on a finals spot. The turn of fortunes since his appointment saw Paul Reid retain the Head Coach role for the 2016 season, helped by assistant Matthew Ribarovski.

Club Honours

  • New South Wales Premier League Champions (Division One) 1984
  • New South Wales Super League Premiers 1983, 2002, 2006 & 2009
  • New South Wales Super League Champions 2002 & 2006
  • New South Wales Second Division Champions 1983​

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