The name of the current Sturt Lions Soccer Club shows the Dutch heritage of the club, the club still plays in orange and has the Dutch Lion in its logo.

The Orange Soccer Club was formed in 1953 by Dutch migrants. In 1963 the club amalgamated with the Sturt Soccer Club formed in 1907 and operating in the Mitcham Council area and changed the name to Orange Sturt. The club didn’t survive but a few members started in 2011 a new one this time called Sturt Lions.

Sturt Lions

There is a third club involved in the history of Sturt Lions and that is the Blackwood Soccer Club. The latter developed Karinya Reserve into a football field for the local area. It was on this field that the Adelaide Hills Hawks Soccer Club teams were formed in a red and white Ajax Amsterdam strip following many of the football philosophies of that Dutch club. These teams were under 11s coached by Johan van der Veeken and Mike Degenhart.

In 2011 the club entered its own senior teams in the Football Federation of SA (FFSA) State League. And took on a new name, the Sturt Lions Football Club. This inaugural senior team was coached by playing coaches Alan Paice and Mark Donk.

See website

John vander Veeken

Born as Jan van der Veeken, he arrived with his family from Den Haag in 1950.

After playing at Orange and Sturt lions, John took up the role of referee and later couch, In 2021 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to football.

List of honour:

  • Adelaide Hills Junior Soccer Association Coach, Association Teams, 1980s.
  • Under 18’s Coach, Blackwood Soccer Club, 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Coach, Mercedes Old Collegiate Soccer Club, 1997-2003.
  • Co-Founder and President of Sturt Lions in 2003. The Junior Coach from 2003-2018.
  • Vice-Chairman, South Zone Council, Football Federation SA, current.

His son John has taken the baton over from his father and is also heavily involved in the Adelaide soccer world.

Recent Dutch Football connection with Adelaide

In April 2024, Adelaide United announced a strategic partnership with Dutch Football club PSV Eindhoven – a “mutually beneficial exchange” set to grant Adelaide United greater access to overseas talent and benefit its youth and coaching development pathways.

Adelaide United partner with Dutch powerhouse & gain access to ‘vast network’ of ‘top-tier talent’