FC Bulleen Lions (Bulleen) is a well-established football club incorporated under the Veneto Club. Bulleen has been in existence for 43 years and in that time has fostered the careers of any successful players including Socceroos Mark Bresciano and Matthew Leckie.
FC Bulleen Lions was founded in 1974 joining the “Victorian Soccer Federation’s North Division”. The first game the seniors played in 1974 was an away game against Galveston and they wore the maroon & gold colours of the Veneto Region. Bulleen won the game 5-1.
Bulleen continued to play in the “Victorian Soccer Federation’s North Division” until 1977 when the club moved into the higher – Second Division of the Provisional League. By 1978 Bulleen had added three junior boys’ teams to its Senior Men’s team (i.e. under 11’s, under 12’s and under 15’s).
Only a year later, in 1979, the growing sport of football (soccer) in Australia saw over 120 children (6 teams) register to play with Bulleen in the following age groups; under 11’s 12’s 13’s 14’s 15’s and 16’s.
After a number of years playing in the second division of the Provisional League the Bulleen Committee decided to make changes in 1981 which saw the introduction of more experienced/talented players. This resulted in Bulleen winning the Coppa Italia that year which was the prelude to going on and winning promotion in 1982 to the first division of the Provisional League.
In 1983, under the management of ex-Socceroo Fausto Tarquinino, Bulleen applied for and was successful in achieving admission into the higher Metropolitan League.
Over the next few years Bulleen continued its rise in Victorian football progressing through the ranks of the Metropolitan League and in 1987 Bulleen won the Division 1 championship achieving promotion to the major league in Victoria – the Premier League.
Bulleen struggled for the next few years in the Premier League finishing ninth in 1988, tenth in 1989 and eighth in 1990.
But in 1991 Bulleen finished the season equal first with Juventus, just missing out on the championship on goal difference. They scored 15 wins, eight draws and three losses through the season. Overall they scored 54 goals – the highest score of all the clubs.
In 1992 Bulleen had another good year but fell short again finishing second in the Premier League Championship but proudly fielded five representatives in the 1992 Victorian State Team.
It was in 1993 when Bulleen became known as the Bulleen Lions. In the same year, the seniors finished on top of the ladder to become the minor premiers and defeated Fawkner 2-0 to win the ultimate goal – THE GRAND FINAL!
The next few years saw Bulleen achieve only mid-table finishes with the only new trophy brought to the club being the now prestigious Coppa Italia Cup in 1994.
There was an interesting turn of events in 1997 which saw Bulleen merge with Brunswick Zebras and Box Hill – to become Bulleen Inter Kings who then, later changed their name to the Bulleen Zebras.
By 1999 the number of junior teams had grown to 11 junior teams with three junior teams representing Bulleen in the Victorian Super League – U 13’s U 15’s & U 16’s. That year Bulleen junior teams won five championships and two Victorian Soccer Federation Cups.
From 2001 to 2006 the number of junior teams continued to grow. In 2001 Bulleen had 12 junior teams (i.e. 300 players) and 2006 Bulleen had over 600 young players.
In 2007 the club experienced one of the worst times in its colourful history when the Zebras parted ways with the Veneto Club prior to the season leaving it without a senior team.
But when it looked like Bulleen would have to start again in the lower divisions in 2008, Essendon Royals moved in as tenants of the Veneto Club and became Bulleen Royals, playing in the State League Division 1, the level below Premier League. In 2009 the seniors were once again known as FC Bulleen Lions and once more proudly wore the maroon and gold of the Veneto.
By 2010 junior soccer registrations were at record highs. There were 23 junior teams (i.e. 2 or 3 teams per age group) from under 11’s to under – 18’s. Soccer Clinics were held through the school holidays and the first Under 16’s team travelled to Bassano, Italy for a two week training camp. The Five-A-Side competition was also introduced at the club in the off season (i.e. Spring) and quickly grew to an annual tournament hosting in excess of 90 teams.
Bulleen became one of the biggest clubs in Victoria and this status was to continue until 2014 when FC Bulleen Lions successfully applied for and joined the newly formed National Premier League – Victoria competition.
Now in our fourth year in the NPL and second year of NPL Women, Bulleen has 4 Seniors Teams, 9 Junior Teams (U12 to U18) and 12 sub-juniors (U9 to U11) playing in the Miniroos Program.
Bulleen is extremely proud to have both its Women’s and Men’s teams playing at the highest level of Victorian Football being only one of three Clubs to do so.
Bulleen’s Goals are; i) to be a permanent fixture in the NPL/NPLW and be in a position to regularly challenge for both League and Cup titles and ii) to have the best junior development program in Victoria demonstrated by Bulleen juniors consistently going on to play seniors for the Club and/or higher.
The growth of FC Bulleen Lions has been an interesting journey with a myriad of ups and downs, highlights and lowlights – but the direction has always been clear. To be the club of choice, respected for providing a quality football experience in a positive environment and to be known for the professional and successful development of players to the elite level.
A short summary of the History of Women’s Football at FC Bulleen Lions:
2006 = 1 U18 Team, 2007 = 3 Teams and 4 Teams in 2008.
In 2009 FCBL have 5 teams that win 3 Championships and 2 Runners up flags.
In 2010 FCBL have 6 teams and the Seniors now in State League 2 Division and 2 x Junior Teams in A Grade, winning our first A Grade Championship.
In 2011 FCBL have 7 teams wining 4 Championships and a Runners up, including the seniors winning promotion to State League 1 Division.
In 2011 FCBL has the highest number of girls represented at Victorian Champions League.
In 2012, the senior women win State 1 League championship going undefeated and get promoted to the Women’s Premier League for season 2013, the highest level in the state.
In 2014, the Senior Women finish second and win the State Knock-Out Cup.
In 2015, Bulleen are awarded a Licence to enter the Women’s National Premier League – Victoria in 2016.
In 2016, the FCBL Women/Girl’s teams win two out of the four titles available in the Women’s National Premier League’s inaugural year and make the final of the Team App Cup for the third year in a row.